The 2010s were an odd time for music. One of the many weird aspects that came to light was the resurgence of the ever-so-popular boy band genre, with bands like Five Seconds of Summer and One Direction bursting onto the scene. When one of those groups, One Direction, broke up due to creative differences and general fatigue, one of the shining stars from the split was Zayn Malik.
Zayn transitioned into a very popular Pop-R&B star and released a pair of studio albums in the late 2010s. The third edition of Zayn’s work, “Nobody Is Listening”, was released a few weeks ago. He touted that this project would take a more personal turn, and that he would have full creative control over this album. But after listening, I think he probably should’ve stuck with the upbeat pop-singles of his mid-20s.
The album started off with a boring song called “Calamity”. It definitely had some of his best lyrics on the project, with good background synths, but Zayn did not use his voice to his advantage on this track. The track turned very repetitive and dull.
The second track, “Better”, was a continuation of the dull production, but he used his voice much more, which made the track into a highlight on the record.
“Sweat”, a track that greatly improved the middle of the tracklist, was far and away the best song. Around the middle of the song, we heard some heavy drums for the first time, and it was a great breath of fresh air from the mediocre production that had been sprinkled throughout the project. Zayn even sounded like Frank Ocean, and had some pretty impressive lyrics. This was probably the best track on the album.
“Tightrope” and “River Road” were the last two songs of the album. I felt they could be grouped into one. They were both uninteresting pop songs that we hear all of the time. Just more of the same from Zayn, and it was a very poor way to end this record.
Overall, I didn’t feel like this album lived up to its expectations. It was just a conventional collection of pop songs. Even with the supposed full creative direction, Zayn should go back to his roots. With everything considered, the name of the album makes plenty of sense.