MIND OF MINE: TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW


A year ago to the day since he left his One Direction bandmates, Zayn has released his hotly anticipated debut album, Mind of Mine. With the world watching to see if he can stand by himself, there's certainly pressure for this album to be successful. His debut single PILLOWTALK reached number one across the globe, and in the process, set a high benchmark for his album to live up to. So the question is, does it?

MiNd Of MiNdd (Intro)
The album kicks off with MiNd Of MiNdd (Yes, all of the names of the songs consist of sporadically positioned capitals) which serves as an introduction to what is to come with the other seventeen tracks from the deluxe version. Lasting only fifty-seven seconds, the simplicity of the song strikes you from the start; only really using keys, vocals, synthesised drums and a load of post-production effects.

PILLOWTALK
I've already written a review about PILLOWTALK, so instead of including the contents of that post in this one, you can take a click over to it here. Exclusive to the Spotify Mind Of Mine playlist which you can listen to here, there is a stripped-down version of the song, consisting of just a simple strumming guitar and vocal performance. This track really allows him to showcase his vocals and give R&B style runs like no other. This acoustic version has also left it open to improvisation which is something Zayn has clearly taken up the opportunity to do, deviating away from the original's melody line.

iT's YoU

This is a personal favourite of mine, and one of my favourite songs from the album. iT's YoU is one of the tracks where we hear Zayn sounding most vulnerable. On this track, we get to hear Zayn once again hitting those high notes which many can't get anywhere near. His vocals sound so soft and tender, and the simple beat makes it one of those songs you can easily relax listening to. The addition of the electric guitar before the bridge gives this song a little bit of something else, which without, would make this sound very repetitive (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).
                                                       

BeFoUr
BeFoUr shows his desire to feature more R&B based music on his album, with a smoothly thumping beat which changes as the song progresses. There have been questions raised about whether this song was penned about being part of One Direction and the identity issues that came with that, something which Zayn has been fairly open about since leaving. The song progresses up a level when the final chorus comes round and Zayn can hit those high notes and showcase some ad-libs which manage to divert the attention away from the chorus.

sHe
Supposedly written about his fizzled out romance with Little Mix member, Perrie Edwards, this track seems to tell an almost behind the scenes story of their relationship if this is what sHe was written about. "Bright lights, She's fading" he sings in the pre-chorus before hitting into an almost muted beat and refrain of: "She wants somebody to love, to hold her, she wants somebody to love, in the right way.."

As we hit the middle of the album, songs like dRuNk continue to keep their roots firmly planted in R&B styled rhythms and vocals. The album's intermission called fLoWer is sung in Urdu, a little reminder and flavour of his family's background and Father's native language. Following fLoWer is rEaR vIeW, a song which sadly doesn't match or live up to others on the album. It seems a little flat, as if it doesn't really have a direction to it- no pun intended. It sounds as if its influences border on 90's R&B, but in comparison with songs like sHe and wRoNg, it seems a little lacklustre.

wRoNg
This is that song that features American singer-songwriter, Kehlani. When listening to it, you can almost imagine it making part of the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack or at least on a similar level to The Weeknd. It's a song which will be caught in your brain for the rest of the day, with a rolling beat throughout the chorus and both artists harmonising with one another on the melody.

fOoL fOr YoU
Without ruining Zayn's new-found credibility, this is as close as we will get to the music produced during his One Direction days. Proving to critics that he isn't just a one-trick pony, stripping back the production effects leaves his raw and vulnerable vocals to shine through. He uses runs which although occasionally featured on One Direction tracks, weren't normally at the forefront of the piece which was a shame because he executes them with so much control. His vocal control and quality is something which many overlook and this track certainly proves them why they should take note. This is my personal favourite from the album along with iT's YoU, as both tracks allow for him to show us the beauty of his vocals without all of the added effects.

BoRdErSz
This track was produced by Maylay who is best known for his work on Frank Ocean's Grammy award-winning album, Channel Orange. The layering of soft-funk guitar melodies in BoRdErSz compliment the vocals well and almost work as a counter melody to Zayn's signature vocal tone. Similarly to rEaR vIeW, I feel as if this track doesn't really have any stand out qualities. 

tRuTh
This is definitely one of the most chilled songs from the album, contrasting from more charged tracks like PILLOWTALK. It's really just a simple repetition of the chorus, so isn't the most complex of songs, but that's what makes it so great to just relax to. You don't have to think about what's coming next. 

lUcOzAdE
Obviously named after the energy drink, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered about the odd name for the track. As he has done on many of the other tracks on the album, Malik shows off his vocal abilities and range, launching up to hit higher notes every now and then. The chorus doesn't progress or step up like you would expect it to. It stays on a similar level to the verses until a flaunt of ad-libs before the verse comes back in.

TiO
Ending the album is TiO standing for 'take it off' which is the premise for the whole song, similar to PILLOWTALK which was undoubtedly written about sex, as the lyrics suggested. It is one of the shorter songs on the album, excluding the Intro, MiNd Of MiNdd and intermission, fLoWer. Once again, I feel as if there isn't much to this song that makes it stand out from others on the record, however, that is, of course, open to personal opinion.

So, the verdict?

Overall, I can't help but feel as if the first half of the album is the better half. It seems as if we hit a point after 
fOoL fOr YoU where the music just doesn't have the same qualities and conviction as the first nine tracks. There's no denying Zayn's work ethic though. Most artists would take years to produce an album, but in the space of a year, he has managed to produce something of such quality.


You can buy Mind Of Mine from Apple here, or the Deluxe edition here.

Follow
Image sources: Billboard, Complex

2 comments:

  1. So far it seems like the album is going to be great. As always write from the heart and it will touch others

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review. Very thorough. Never been a fan, never listened to any of those songs but you painted a good picture of the messages of each piece.

    ReplyDelete

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM