FKA Album Review: Zayn – Nobody is Listening

EDITOR’S NOTE: We got another fire review here, from one of the gross-ass mixed drink legends in the flesh, Jeremy. He makes a hop across the pond to Bradford, in West Yorkshire, to bring you the third album from the Lost Direction, Zayn Malik. Zayn notched a #1 release in the charts of a number of countries (including his native UK) with his first post-One Direction soiree, Mind of Mine, in 2016. The shine wore off pretty quickly though, as he couldn’t even crack the top-75 in his homeland with 2018’s sophomore effort, Icarus Falls.

Zayn’s third album claims that Nobody Is Listening, which is patently false: at the very least, ONE person was listening. Keep reading to find out whether Jeremy found One Thing wrong with the release, or a bunch of Little Things. Maybe it was actually Perfect? My puns are depleted now so just go read the thing already thx.

  • Z.

Zayn – Nobody is Listening (RCA Records)

Starting your career as a project of Simon Cowell has the potential to go in a few different directions, ranging from Instant Success to Crash-And-Burn. For Zayn Malik, the former is absolutely true. One Direction is known the world over as a part of this generation’s “boy band” phase, alongside The Jonas Brothers. 

Zayn left the group in 2015 in something of a dick move. He ditched the others in Hong Kong after telling them that he needed time out of the spotlight, but immediately began working on a solo record that would be released one year TO THE DAY after he left One Direction. Thematically, his solo stuff is a departure from his former, younger self, containing more adult content.

For his 3rd solo record, he has decided that he wants to sound like Justin Bieber, but with a better voice. Simple melodies, steamy lyrics, and a production that is hard to get past are the focus of Nobody is Listening. His entire image is predicated on the premise that his voice, and thus he, is sexy as hell. With a bedroom rasp and crisp falsetto, he can melt hearts and bodies. Though the album is by no means perfect, it is more hit than miss. In particular, “Sweat” is a contender for the next round of Sex Jams, when we inevitably decide to do a recount on the podcast. You can see the dim red light and hear the breathing. The Phil Collins style beat is a surprisingly perfect accompaniment to his airy false vibrato. 

Not everything is that satisfying, however. The album opener is a “rap” about how “nobody is listening to him”, and it comes across as needy and ill-conceived. “Connextion” has a thumbed-nose hum as the main hook of the song and is incredibly off-putting. “Windowsill” feels like a half-assed attempt at sounding like Juice WRLD (the drop-in from Devlin is fire, but way to short). 

I think he’s a talented artist that simply doesn’t put enough time or thought into his work. The result is a combination of wonderful, brilliant songs and tracks that probably should be carpeting the cutting room floor. 

Start with: “Sweat”, “River Road”, “Tightrope”

FFO: Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes


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