Updated: Jan 30, 2021
Zayn’s brand new album Nobody is Listening is catching the attention of many with the new sound that he is developing. This album is a cohesive body of work that has both continued to show Zayn’s risk-taking ideas for making unique concept albums, and introduce a more heavy soul and old school flair with this new record.
Although this is only Zayn’s third solo studio album, this R&B star from Bradford has been in the spotlight for quite some time. Zayn rose to fame over a decade ago when he was put into the british boyband that we saw take over the world. One direction had taken the world by storm with their unbelievable success in a short amount of time that did not seem to stop growing. Upon Malik’s departure from the band in March 2015, he had taken some well deserved time off before shocking the world when he dropped his first studio album, Mind of Mine, with his lead single, Pillowtalk, in 2016, which made history by naming him the first British male artist to debut a number one in both the UK and the US. With all of this international success, Malik soon released his second studio album, Icarus Falls, in 2018.
All of Malik’s previous music has shown off his talents for creating out of the box melodies and concepts in his albums, as well as his superb vocals and iconic high notes. However, this new album has seemed to take all of this to a new level. Every track sticks out with its incredible, yet stripped down production that gives the whole album a hazy vibe, working together with catchy hooks to make every piece more intriguing than the last. Malik has established himself as an R&B artist following his time with the band in his last two albums, but he brings in old school elements of soul and 70s R&B throughout this album while also taking his electropop elements to the next level. Zayn Malik is once again raising the bar and continuing his pattern of exceeding all expectations, leaving everyone amazed.
Nobody is Listening is not a lengthy album packed with radio hits, but rather more of an experimental album in which he took more control than ever before in terms of writing and production. A press release described the album as “his most personal project yet”, which is true, as he is the executive producer for this album and made the decision to work with a variety of different producers for each song. It is clear that Zayn made the album he wanted to and pulled his own inspirations with similarities to Daniel Caesar guitar centric R&B and distorted guitars that allude to Frank Ocean.
Nobody is Listening is conceptually cohesive in its consistent mood that flows throughout that is best described by stating the title of his second single, “Vibez”. Each song perfectly flows into the next without letting the energy or intensity drop out. He makes bold choices, following his pattern of experimentation with this album, starting off the record with the somber track, Calamity, where he performs a lengthy rap with dark concepts and lyrics with depressing undertones discussing anxiety (“can I resist the dark abyss?/Leave a mark on this wish no start, just exist”), along with calming melodies that set the tone for the rest of the album. Directly after, he smoothly transitions into his first single, Better, which features a distinct guitar riff and upbeat melody, making this song a hit amongst his audience. The seventh track, Sweat, is a sexy, upbeat song with a strong hook that will not fail to intrigue you and is a standout due to its amazing production and stunning vocals. Following this track comes Unfuckwitable, which brings out a lot of those old-school soul R&B elements that he weaved throughout the record in this slowed down and sultry song. The next standout comes with track 10, Tightrope, a romantic R&B ballad that has a lighter, more uplifting tone than a lot of the rest of the tracks on the album. Near the end of the track, Zayn sings beautiful arabic lyrics that add to the song's sentimental tone. The last track on the record, titled River Road, is a favorite with his rich and soulful vocals as well as meaningful lyrics alluding to the seasons changing. The jazz and soul aspects of this song add an interesting element to this album and make a powerful end to the record, finishing his album of warm yet somber vibes with an uplifting song that brings the emotion built throughout the record to its climax to finish it out.
It can be claimed that Zayn has really found his sweet spot with this album, causing him to turn heads in the music industry with Nobody is Listening. We can all look forward to the undoubtable success of his career to come. Zayn, I can assure you that from now on, everyone is listening.