1. Track List (96)

The First To Break Away, Zayn Has The Head-start On Individualistic Sound, Already Proving His Solo Worth On Second Album ZAYN

Written by taylor
/ 5 mins read

I totally missed the One Direction mania, which was akin to Beatlemania in its sixties heyday. Therefore, while I recognize the origins of such artists, blossoming from beloved Boy Band to solo efforts from every member now, it is as if I am discovering the merits of One Direction backwardly, and this research faze began with the first member to bolt – ZAYN. I have since learned that this guy was ready to leave his boy band obligation from the very first year – so it is no wonder that he should be the first to leave, with that much built in conviction, and possibly, dissatisfaction. Now, ZAYN is evolving as a young artist, though having been the first to leave One Direction in 2015, he has had perhaps a head start to develop his craft as a solo artist. This head-start equates to great creative results with his second album , Icarus Falls, a fantastic pop album with all sorts of different notes played across its hefty 27 track spread. The first track will put a loving smile instantly on your face; such is its sense of accurately dispensed romance. Finger snaps that don’t sound just tacked on. A vocal that isn’t in a hurry to get every single tome out. A laid back groove, but with twinkly bell rhythms that will make your hairs stand up on end. Yes, this is the way to start an album that runs the gauntlet of love that every young superstar is apt to experience - not every artists knows how to synthesize those feelings into some multi-genre bops quite like ZAYN here.

Pop That Goes For More

With a ghostly synth pop clap and snap along, “Back to Life” equates a special lover to a drug that ZAYN seems to be dependent on (honestly she's the only one that's watching over me / gives me oxygen when it gets hard to breathe). Serious R&B persists on “Imprint”, where, with the aid of auto-tune, ZAYN sounds like a contemporary crooner mixed with moments of sexy falsetto reminiscent of a D’Angelo delivery. One wonders if ZAYN actually could hit it all himself, vocally, and if the tuning is an aid or an accessory. The vocal mix sounds perfectly modern, in any case. Heavy on the echo effects and audio ramping is the explosive synth pop ballad “There You Are”, which is solidly made, possessing all of the expected moments, but actually sounding fresh and unique at the same time. It has to be said that ZAYN and his team have really paid attention to not let convention get in the way of good writing and melodic opportunities. Thus, many tracks have all the bells and whistles of electro pop effects, while at the same time, going for ‘more’ in the creative department, making sure to not include too much fat song to song. I mean, how many artists out there are content to deliver sub standard pop songs that stay in the same lane for 4 plus minutes. The answer: a helluva lot.

R&B Grooves Are Strongest With This Particular Former Member Of One Direction

Even the more basic R&B bedroom grooves have their own special character, which is really respectful of the listeners time. A groove that could have fallen into standard territory by overemphasizing a weak riff-turned-hook actually ends up having some decent funk to it and happens to go in a few directions more than the average sing-a-groove-into-the-ground mentality tends to tread. On one of these hidden jams, “I Don’t Mind”, ZAYN goes interesting places with his range, harmonizing and question-answering his vocals in a pretty intricate way - while thankfully not rushing to sing-rap his concepts, instead letting it all breath like the expert ZAYN is shaping up to be.

Ultimately, Icarus Falls Is A Rewarding Experience, Just Like ZAYN’s Gamble To Go Solo

“Good Years”, one of the most British sounding pop ballads within this experience, finds ZAYN swinging his voice from the peaks to the valleys of a rolling landscape style structure - where you can feel the wet and green isle panoramas if you just close your eyes. Certainly, this is not a favorite of mine, but as to effectiveness in creating a particular introspective mood, with the intent of granting the listener the strength to move on, it certainly gets the job done. One Direction fans will surely feel the pseudo-longing-regret of ZAYN’s lyrics; “I close my eyes and see a crowd of a thousand tears / I pray to God I didn't waste all my good years.” He’s describing regrets right? He additionally sings “Too much drugs and alcohol / what the hell were we fighting for.” The content remains ambiguous, and perhaps rightly so, as when ZAYN sings “I'd rather be anywhere / anywhere but here”, where we just don’t know whether he means he’d rather be back to that place and feeling with his ‘band brothers’ on stage, or whether he is remembering the restless thoughts which consumed him beginning with his very first year with One Direction. I do appreciate this invitation into the inner workings of a real artist who lays bear his take on what it means to be a mega star who bucked against success, shooting for something more personally rewarding.

3. Official (14)

4. Audio (94)

5. Live (8)

6. Featuring Remixes (133)

7. Albums (15)

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11. Similar Artists (22)

12. Artist Info


Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik (/ˈmælɪk/, Urdu: زین جواد ملک‬‎; born 12 January 1993), recording mononymously as Zayn, is an English singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Malik auditioned as a solo contestant for the British music competition The X Factor in 2010. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Malik was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, to form the boy band that would become known as One Direction. Malik left the group in March 2015 and subsequently signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records.
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