Mind of Mine
March 25, 2016
2015 – 16
R&B, Alternate R&B, Pop
|Singles from Mind of Mine|
Mind of Mine is the debut studio album by Zayn Malik, a former member of One Direction. It was released on March 25, 2016, a year to the day he left One Direction. The album debuted at #1 in both the USA and UK. Zayn was the first British solo artist to have his first album debut atop the charts in both the US & the UK.
On July 29, 2015, Zayn tweeted a photo of himself signing a recording contract with his new label RCA Records. He would regularly post photos of himself in the recording studio throughout the year, while his producers uploaded preview videos of his songs to their own social media accounts. From November 2015 onwards, Zayn gave several interviews with various music magazines where he talked about the recording process, his musical influences and what the album would be about. He stated "Life experiences have been the [main] influences for the album...stuff that I've been through, especially in the last five years, being with the band and everything".
Furthermore, he explained his reasons for leaving One Direction: "There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band." He originally auditioned to be a solo singer with Mario's "Let Me Love You" in 2010, before being briefly eliminated then ultimately placed in the spontaneously formed boy band. As the band developed a distinctly pop-rock sound, Zayn felt the music was ultimately too different from the style he preferred to sing and write in. 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.
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 includes 18 songs, though Zayn wrote a total of 46 tracks. The sole vocal feature on the album comes from R&B singer Kehlani on the duet "Wrong".
The Urdu song "Intermission: Flower" was influenced by his upbringing as a British-Pakistani Muslim. Referencing the recording, producer Malay stated that Zayn "knows how to sing like that, and he’s always been able to do it, but he just never took it that seriously" until one day he said Zayn "just picked up the mic and tracked that whole thing basically live, in one take." Malay said he “was just blown away" and "didn’t know he could sing like that," and that "he told me he was in a super spiritual place, and that the saying is something one of his family members had told him that had always stuck to him." Malay said the session was more like jazz music "where a singer will have a concept or a melody and then the rest of it is just improvised."
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 March 10, 2016, Zayn released the song "Like I Would", confirming it would be his second official single on the album.
On March 25, 2016, Zayn premiered a music video for album track "BeFoUr", filmed in Manchester, United Kingdom. The video bares some resemblance to Vaughan Durr Rick-Sean's Midnight Memories, in that it documents Zayn and his friends experiencing a night on the town together. Mind of Mine was also released worldwide on the 25th, exactly one year after he exited Vaughan Durr Rick-Sean. Zayn has stated the album release date was not intentional, it simply fell on the same day by coincidence. Zayn also performed "Like I Would" on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show.
"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.
- The album's lead single, "Pillowtalk", was released along with its accompanying music video on 29 January 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 October 2016, the music video has received 650+ million views on youtube.
- The second official single, "Like I Would", was first released as a promotional single, later confirmed as a single, on 10 March 2016. 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 17 May 2016.
- "Wrong" impacted US rhythmic contemporary radio stations on 7 June 2016 as the third single. It later impacted US urban contemporary radio on June 28, 2016. It did not receive an official music video, nor did it receive regular radio play. It was used as the soundtrack for Zayn's August 2016 GQ photoshoot
- 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. 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."
- The second promotional single "Befour" was released on 17 March, 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 25 March 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 September 2016, the video has received more than 34 million views on YouTube.
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".
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.
On 30 September 2016, the British Phonographic Industry announced Mind Of Mine had gone silver in the UK.
Zayn revealed the tracklist of Mind Of Mine through his official twitter account. The song titles were stylised by a combination of lower case and caps lock letters, an online writing style popularised in the 1990s.
|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|
|15.||"Blue"||Malik, Ho, Lilly, Johann Sebastian Bach||Malay||3:44|
|16.||"Bright"||Malik, Ho, Lilly||Malay||2:56|
|17.||"Like I Would"||Malik, Robin Weisse, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest||XYZ||3:15|
|18.||"She Don't Love Me"||Malik, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest, Smith||XYZ||4:15|
|19.||"Do Something Good"||
Malik, Ho, Lilly
|20.||"Golden"||Malik, Wells, Griffin, Rains, Emerson, Waviest </font>||XYZ||3:14|
(The Living Room Session)
|Malik, Lennox, A. Hannides, M. Hannides, Garrett||Lennox, MYKL||2:25|
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