Zayn Malik’s ‘Mind Of Mine’: Review Revue

Carl Williott | March 25, 2016 11:53 am

Zayn Malik dropped his solo debut today, on the one-year anniversary of his departure from One Direction, in case it weren’t clear that Mind Of Mine was created both in the shadow of 1D and with the intention of separating Zayn from the group.

More:: Watch Zayn's "Befour" video

The album largely succeeds in advancing his narrative beyond the boy band story, as we noted in our review. For one thing, it’s a decidedly contemporary and sexy R&B affair. But we also feel he’s got some work to do when it comes to establishing himself from today’s overcrowded moody R&B set. That’s just our take, though — see what the rest of the critics are saying below.

:: Rolling Stone matched our 3/5 score, praising his vocals but calling out much of the lyrical content for being “half-baked and corny.”

:: The L.A. Times called it “a moody, deeply textured R&B album” that “sounds as if it was designed to showcase the effort and inspiration that went into it,” but noted “the influences here are remarkably easy to spot.”

:: EW, on the way to a B+ grade, says “he doesn’t sound particularly interested in pushing pop’s boundaries or dissecting the vagaries of his own fame. Instead, he tends to keep his lyrical focus exactly where you’d expect any 23-year-old’s to be: on good girls, bad girls, hard-to-get girls, and the partying and videogames that fill the rare downtime in between.”

:: USA Today handed out three stars out of four and called it an “ambitious statement.” ” It’s an almost-mature and fully contemporary-sounding work that carries over one important aspect from his 1D days: that sublime voice.”

:: The Guardian gave the hometown hero four stars out of five, writing, “That the sound he’s chosen – clipped beats, hazy production flourishes, oodles of falsetto as a shortcut for emotional honesty – is basically 2016 writ large may seem bandwagon-jumping, but there’s more than enough good stuff here to suggest it’s been created with love rather than with an eye on ticking boxes.”

:: Vulture describes it as “a fittingly laid-back, low-key affair,” adding that the LP comprises “the expressions of a talented singer who’s still in the process of figuring out what makes his perspective unique.”

:: Consequence of Sound was a little rougher in its C writeup, arguing the album is “largely an intriguing debut marred by a number of poor choices,” concluding “there’s just not enough focus, and promise can only take one so far without differentiation from the artists you’re emulating.”

:: Stereogum felt it was a thoroughly mediocre debut, calling it “transcendently OK, the apotheosis of acceptable, a complete and utter triumph of basically good enough,” filled with “tasteful yet mostly tasteless post-Weeknd noir.”

What’s your take on Zayn’s solo effort? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter.