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Mind of Mine is the debut studio album by Zayn Malik. It was released on March 25, 2016, a year to the day he left One Direction.[1]

Primarily R&B and alternative R&B, the album blends elements from a number of genres, including pop, folk, dub, soul, funk, electronic, Qawwali, hip hop, reggae, classical and soft rock, among others. The album was preceded by the release of three singles: "Pillowtalk" (which debuted at number one in a number of international charts, including the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100), "Like I Would" and "Wrong", featuring Kehlani.

Mind of Mine debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Taiwan, with Zayn becoming the first UK male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with his debut album.

Background

Following Zayn Malik's five-year stint with English-Irish band One Direction, he quit the band after signing off from the band's On the Road Again Tour for an indefinite period six days prior due to stress.

Shortly after, Malik began working on solo material. Zayn eventually went on to meet James "Malay" Ho, who would become his album's main collaborator. On 29 July 2015, Malik shared a photo on social media of his official signing with RCA Records. Throughout the rest of 2015, Zayn gave interviews with several music magazines, during which he spoke about his debut solo studio album and revealed part of the track list.

Furthermore, he explained his reasons for leaving One Direction: "there was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band." Malik originally auditioned to be a solo R&B singer with Mario's "Let Me Love You" in 2010 before becoming part of One Direction, but with the band headed in a pop-rock direction.

He stated, "I don't really know what my style is yet. I’m kind of just showing what my influences are." The album was influenced by the music that he grew up with, primarily his father's urban music records from R&B artists like R. Kelly, Usher, Donell Jones, and Prince, as well as Bollywood music.

Due to the band's musical direction, Zayn was unable to sing or write the kind of R&B music he had originally pursued before joining the band. He elaborated, "If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic" and that "Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me. It was music that was already given to us". He told Complex that "It was about denying the authenticity of who I was, and what I enjoyed about music, and why I got into it."

Zayn told Billboard Magazine, "Once they [the fans] hear it, I feel like they will understand me a little bit more. For 10 years, this album has been in my brain, and it's just been there, sat with me, needing to be out." In his first solo on-camera interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music's Beats 1, Zayn revealed Mind of Mine as the album's title.

The album's cover art was revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on February 17, 2016 where Zayn also premiered the album track "iT's YoU" in his first live television performance as a solo artist. The cover, a photo of Zayn as a child, drew comparisons to Lil Wayne's album Tha Carter III, as the image has been Photoshopped to include Zayn's current tattoos (Wayne's also included his tattoos and piercings). Zayn addressed the issue stating "my ideas have been with me a long time."

Mind of Mine was made available for pre-order on February 25, 2016 along with the digital release of the promotional single "It's You" and the official music video – the latter of which was an Apple Music exclusive. The same day Zayn also released a "Pillowtalk" remix featuring Lil Wayne himself. Zayn raps for the first time on the record. On 10 March 2016, Zayn released the song "Like I Would", confirming it would be his second official single on the album.[2] The lyrics of the album were leaked three days before the initial release of it, on 22nd March, 2016.

On March 25, 2016, Zayn premiered a music video for album track "Befour", filmed in Manchester, United Kingdom. The video bares some resemblance to One Direction's "Midnight Memories". Mind of Mine was also released worldwide on the 25th, exactly one year after he exited One Direction. Zayn has stated the album release date was not intentional, it simply fell on the same day by coincidence.

Music Style

"Pillowtalk" is a downtempo electronic R&B slow jam, leaning towards alternative R&B. "Like I Would" was described by Billboard as a "dancefloor-ready R&B jam" and The Independent described it as "electro-R&B". "It's You" is an slow R&B intimate ballad that showcases his falsetto as he sings the song's title during the chorus.

"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. 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.

"Flower" is an experimental Pakistani Qawwali-style ghazal interlude that Malik sings in Urdu, backed by Malay's folk guitar playing. Qawwali is a style of music associated with Islamic culture. Malik used Qawwali-style vocal techniques for the track, including vocal elisions and warbling. "Truth" is an experimental neo-soultrack. "She" is a self-described "party tune" that is "not as intense lyrically" as some of the other cuts. "Fool for You" is a Beatles-esque pop ballad, which Malik says was influenced by John Lennon in particular. "My Ways" is sung from his father's perspective.

Singles

  • Pillowtalk
    The album's lead single, "Pillowtalk", was released along with its accompanying music video on January 29, 2016, with favorable reviews from music critics and was a worldwide #1 hit. The single debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100; on the latter, it became the 25th song to debut at number one, making him the first UK artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100 with a first charted single. It also debuted at number one in a number of other countries, including Australia, Canada and Ireland. As of September 2017, the music video has received 750+ million views on youtube.
Zayn Malik - Like I Would (Official Single Cover)
  • The second official single, "Like I Would", was first released as a promotional single, later confirmed as a single, on 10 March 2016.[3] It was listed as one of the best songs of the week by Digital Spy, The Fader, and USA Today. It was serviced to US contemporary hit radio on May 17, 2016.
  • "Wrong" impacted US rhythmic contemporary radio stations on June 07, 2016 as the third single. It later impacted US urban contemporary radio on June 28, 2016.

Promotional Singles

  • The first promotional single "It's You" debuted on February 17, 2016, in Zayn's first solo live performance on Jimmy Fallon's late show.[4] It was released along with it's music video on February 25, 2016. It received favorable reviews from music critics, both for the song — particularly Malik's vocals — and its music video. Stuff said it is "up there with some of the best R'n'B releases in the last year." The song was also praised by Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. According to him, "It's the most beautiful record."
  • CdwbwR2VIAAO6qz
    The second promotional single "Befour" was released on March 17, 2016. The track was previously used as background music for Zayn Malik's The Fader Cover Star video in November 2015. 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 theUK Singles Chart and number 16 on the UK R&B Chart. Its accompanying music video 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. It reached number 28 on the UK TV Airplay Chart. As of August 2017, the video has received more than 42 million views on YouTube.

Tracklist

Zayn revealed the tracklist of the songs of his debut album, Mind of Mine, through his official twitter account.[5] The songs consist of different caps lock letters.

Standard Edition
Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Mind of Mindd (Intro)" Zayn Malik, Chase Wells, Salvatore Waviest, James Griffin, James Emerson, Kevin Rains XYZ 0:57
2. "Pillowtalk" Zayn Malik, Levi Lennox, Anthony Hannides, Michael Hannides, Joe Garrett, August Rico Levi Lennox 3:22
3. "It's You" Malik, James Ho, Harold Lilly Malay 3:46
4. "Befour" Malik, Ho, Lilly, Terrence "Scar" Smith Malay 3:25
5. "She" Malik, Alan Sampson, A. Hannides, M. Hannides Sampson, MYKL 3:12
6. "Drunk" Malik, Sampson, A. Hannides, M. Hannides, Smith Sampson, MYKL 3:25
7. "Intermission: Flower" Malik, Ho Malay 1:44
8. "Rear View" Malik, Ho, Lilly Malay 3:21
9. "Wrong" Malik, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest, Kehlani Parrish XYZ 3:32
10. "Fool For You" Malik, Wells, Griffin, Rain,s Emerson, Waviest, XYZ 3:22
11. "Borderz"

Malik, Ho, Lilly, A. Hannides, M. Hannides

Malay 3:59
12. "Truth" Malik, Ho, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest XYZ, Malay 4:05
13. "Lucozade" Malik, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest XYZ 4:12
14. "TIO" Malik, Herbie Crichlow, A. Hannides, M. Hannides MYKL 2:58

Unreleased songs

Live Performances

Zayn made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, on 24 March 2016, and performed "Like I Would".[6] On 25 March, he released the album, along with an accompanying music video for "Befour".[7] On the same day, he performed three songs on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City, which streamed across iHeartMedia contemporary hit radio and rhythmic contemporary radio stations and websites, including iHeartRadio's Honda Stage website.[8] Zayn performed "Like I Would" at the IHeart Awards on April 03, 2016.

ZAYN - tRuTh (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)04:49

ZAYN - tRuTh (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)

ZAYN - iT’s YoU (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)03:57

ZAYN - iT’s YoU (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)

ZAYN - LIKE I WOULD (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)03:29

ZAYN - LIKE I WOULD (Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater NY)

ZAYN - Like I Would (Wango Tango 2016)04:54

ZAYN - Like I Would (Wango Tango 2016)

Zayn- "Like I Would" - The Voice 201603:46

Zayn- "Like I Would" - The Voice 2016

Zayn Malik - Like I Would (LIVE iHeartRadio Awards) 201603:23

Zayn Malik - Like I Would (LIVE iHeartRadio Awards) 2016

ZAYN - It's You Live03:57

ZAYN - It's You Live

Reception

The album has received favorable views from the music critics. Mikael Wood of Los Angeles Times praised the record, describing it as a "moody, deeply textured R&B album with vibe to spare" that showcases "the effort and inspiration that went into it" and establishes "Zayn's new identity" as a "serious" and "legit musician." He notes that Malik deals "in intricately voiced" chords and the album "emphasizes signs of complexity" such as "the elaborate synth swirls" in "She" and Malay's "careful layering of soft-funk guitar lines" in "Borderz," and that even "when Zayn strips down the music for "Fool for You," a relatively spare piano ballad, he fills the space with ornate vocal runs, flexing a skill for which there was never much use in 1D." He also praised "Flower" as "a lovely vocal melody sung in Urdu", and noted the influence of Frank Ocean in "It's You", Miguel in "Truth", the xx in "Drunk", and Prince in "the whole project" from "Zayn's falsetto to his stylized renderings of song titles". Wood stated that "you're unlikely to hear a more detailed album this year, and certainly not from whichever of Zayn's former bandmates goes solo next."

Jon Caramanica of The New York Times described it as a "sweaty, smooth R&B" album, noting that Malik successfully "opts for a low-octane approach" throughout the record, from "part mellow soul burner and part post-Coldplay melancholia" in "It's You" to "R&B delivered under a dark cloud" in "Drunk". He also praised the Urdu love song "Flower" as the album's "most plainly besotted song", with some "of the most impassioned vocals" on the record, and compared "Fool for You" to Billy Joel and Jeffrey Osborne, "Tio" to The Weeknd "with vocals like buried shrieks clamoring for freedom", the "1980s-esque" songs "Lucozade" and "Rear View" to British R&B artists Lisa Stansfield and Rick Astley, and the "sensual" duet "Wrong" (featuring Kehlani) to Justin Timberlake's early solo work.

Chart Performance

Weekly Charts

Chart (2016) Peak

Position

Argentine Albums (CAPIF) 1
Australian Albums (ARIA) 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) 2
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) 8
Belgian Albums (Wallonia Flanders) 5
Brazilian Albums (ABPD) 2
Canadian Albums (Billboard) 1
Croatian Albums (Toplista) 10
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) 16
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) 9
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) 3
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 3
French Albums (SNEP) 3
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 9
Greek Albums (IFPI) 22
Hungarian Albums (Mahasz) 14
Irish Albums (IRMA) 2
Italian Albums (FIMI) 2
Japanese Albums (Oricon) 29
Japan International Albums (Oricon) 2
Korean Albums (Gaon) 40
Mexican Albums (AMPROFON) 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 1
Polish Albums (ZPAV) 2
Portuguese Albums (AFP) 1
Russian Albums (Russian Music Charts) 4
Scottish Albums (OCC) 3
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) 5
Taiwanese Albums (Five Music) 1
UK Albums (OCC) 1
UK R&B Albums (OCC) 1
US Billboard 200 1

Year - end Charts

Chart (2016) Peak

Position

Australian Albums (ARIA) 84
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) 95
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) 87
Italian Albums (FIMI) 67
Mexican Albums (AMPROFON) 47
US Billboard 200 56

References

  1. Sanity Confirmation Tweet
  2. Malik, Zayn. "Zayn - LIKE I WOULD is my second single in case u were wondering". Facebook. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  3. Zayn "Like I Would" (Audio) on Youtube
  4. Zayn's "iT's YoU" (Audio) on Youtube.
  5. Zayn's tweet on his album's tracklist
  6. Zayn's Performance on The Tonight Show
  7. ZAYN - BeFoUr on Youtube
  8. "WATCH - ZAYN Album Release Party On The Honda Stage At The iHeartRadio Theater". iHeartRadio. 15 March 2016.

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