Lyrically, "Befour" addresses both his past and his detractors at the same time, including his past as a working class teenager in Bradford (which the music video is based on), his former band, and the scrutiny of his detractors.
The song talks about the story of a man who has finally broken out on his own, and also addresses critics of his career with his former band One Direction and how he felt frustrated and suffocated during the time he was with the band.
Befour" was released on March 17, 2016, as the second promotional single. According to James Ho, "Befour" was conceived when he and Malik were in the VIP area of a Las Vegas club where Big Sean was performing in August 2015, and Malik said, "It's crazy being here in Vegas. I’ve literally been all over the world with One Direction. I’ve done this before, but not like this. Not by myself, not this way, not here with the intention of working on my own music". The track was also previously used as background music for Zayn Malik's The Fader Cover Star video in November 2015.
The song received acclaim from music critics who praised the song's lyrics, his falsetto and called it one of the album's best tracks. The music video for the song was released on 25 March 2016, and it focus on youth culture, splitting scenes between Malik hanging in a car or restaurant with friends to images of young people boxing, drinking, dancing and getting haircuts.
The music video for "Befour" was released on March 25, 2016. The video was shot in Manchester's Miles Plattingdistrict, and dramatises what Malik's working class teenage life was like in Northern England, including scenes at a boxing club (Malik used to do boxing before his music career), restaurant/pool hall, barber shop, parking lot, and fish and chips shop.
|Released||March 25, 2016|
|Location||Manchester's Miles Plattingdistrict|
|VEVO views||46,652,821 (as of March 31, 2018)|
It was listed as one of the best songs of the week by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and Rolling Stone. It debuted at number 85 on the UK Singles Chart and number 16 on the UK R&B Chart. It reached number 28 on the UK TV Airplay Chart. As of August 2016, the music video has received more than 32 million views on YouTube.
"Befour" was described by Rolling Stone as "smooth R&B" and NME described it as an "R&B ballad". Music Times said it combines R&B, synthpop, and soul, and AXS said it uses "tribal percussion and ringing synths". AXS calls it an "experimental and assertive slice of R&B" with "personal lyrics addressing his past and detractors all at once." New Statesman says it is "tightly-constructed and slickly-produced" and includes one of Malik's vocal hallmarks, a "long and impossibly high note." Billboard states that "Zayn channels his inner Justin Timberlake" with the song.
- ↑ Review: Zayn feels himself as a solo star in confident cut 'Befour'
- ↑ Zayn Malik: House of Zayn - The Full NME Cover Interview
- ↑ ‘Mind of Mine’ Solidifies Zayn as Our Most Unlikely Pop Star
- ↑ Zayn surpasses One Direction on debut album
- ↑ Zayn Releases New Slow Jam 'BeFoUr'
- ↑ Inside the making of Zayn Malik's debut album
- ↑ Hear Zayn Malik's Smooth R&B Song 'Befour'
- ↑ Zayn Malik - FADER Cover Star
- ↑ See a Day in the Life of Zayn in 'BeFoUr' Music Video
- ↑ Where Does Zayn Malik's "BeFoUr" Music Video Take Place?