One Direction outlier Zayn Malik just dropped his solo album, Mind of Mine, which is available for streaming on iTunes/Apple Music and Spotify. Coincidentally, the release of Zayn's solo album lands on the one-year anniversary of his departure from his former band, which catapulted him into the public sphere. "I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old," Malik had said in an announcement on the band's Facebook. "[One] who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."
Zayn's change of pace seems to be for the better: While early reviews for Mind of Mine range between positive and mixed, many critics have praised the sound and artistic direction of Malik's post-boy band rebranding.
The Guardian's Michael Cragg describes the album as "downbeat sex jams," lauding Zayn Malik's "Frank Ocean-esque falsetto" throughout the first half of the album, particularly on "It's You" — which just so happens to have been produced by Malay, one of the producers behind Ocean's critically acclaimed 2012 album, Channel Orange.
The Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood was intrigued by Malik's acknowledgement of his Muslim faith in the song "Flower," saying it was "a true rarity in Western pop." Wood also noted that the album as a whole "emphasize[s] signs of complexity," and showcased Malik's vocal ability in a way he was rarely able to flex with One Direction. Finally, Wood postulates that "you're unlikely to hear a more detailed album this year, and certainly not from whichever of Zayn's former bandmates goes solo next."
The track list for the standard edition of Mind of Mine:
1. Mind of Mindd (Intro)
3. It's You
7. Intermission: Flower
8. Rear View
9. Wrong (featuring Kehlani)
10. Fool for You
The deluxe edition includes four additional bonus tracks:
17. Like I Would
18. She Don't Love Me
Stream the deluxe edition of the album below, via Spotify.