By Shari Perlstein
We all remember when Zayn Malik left One Direction. Hardcore fans were a mess for months. Teachers still half-heartedly joke about it in an attempt to gain some cachet with their students. The departure was met with much controversy as his true reason for leaving the band was revealed: he was going solo, rather than focusing on being a normal 23 year-old (as his initial statement claimed). A couple months after the break, Zayn signed on with RCA Records and began working on his new music.
Almost a year after leaving One Direction, Zayn has released the much-anticipated single, “Pillow Talk.” The single is okay. It’s okay because it’s catchy, but it has no substance. There’s nothing different or groundbreaking. It sounds like any other R&B song. It is an obvious next career move from a supposedly “mysterious” boy band member.
The song is a huge disappointment. There were tons of people who were eagerly waiting to hear something new from Zayn, especially since he had said so little regarding music production publically. I have seen him live twice, so the second I listened to the track and watched the music video, I could tell the voice was not right. The accent is right, but the actual singing is either strained or highly autotuned. The lyrics of the song have no meaning to them--they’re just vague, sexual intimations.. It’s like listening to a song by a hormonal sixteen-year-old boy, except the song was not written by a sixteen-year-old boy. It was written by a mature twenty-three-year-old.
The music video is even more of a disappointment. It is beyond complicated. Half of the video is Zayn all over his supposed girlfriend, Gigi Hadid. The other half is filled with random psychedelic imagery such as a girl crying blood. This strange imagery is coupled with terrible lipsynching, making it almost unbearable to watch.
“Pillow Talk” has been successful in spite of its flaws for two reasons. Half the views it has received come from people who are curious. Zayn is the first member of One Direction to go solo, so naturally people are interested in what he is creating. The other half of the views come from his remaining “One Direction” fans. Zayn has a guaranteed fanbase. Like all other boyband members who have gone solo, he doesn’t have to work for his views. It’s too bad most of his new solo career will be built on false appreciation, because if I were Zayn, I would want fans who like my music, not my reputation.
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