Zayn releases new single, “Pillowtalk”

Jonathan Manarang, Staff Writer

Released under the mononym Zayn, the former One Direction member takes a bold first step as a solo artist with “Pillowtalk,” which is the first single off his debut record “Mind of Mine.”

Whether or not you’ve been following the 1D media arc, or at least Zayn’s own fall out with Sam Smith’s collaborator, Naughty Boy, the song is a certified banger on it’s own merit.

With powerhouse vocals and a true range that went underused during his years in a boyband, the single shows Zayn, born Zain Malik, in an entirely new perspective.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on his “Beats 1” Radio Show, Zayn distanced himself from his former group, “I think I kind of always wanted to go. From like from the first year, really,” Zayn admitted.

“I never really wanted to be there, in the band. I just gave it a go because it was there at the time. And then, when I realized the direction we were going in, mind the pun, I instantly realized it wasn’t for me because I realized I couldn’t give my opinion […] it didn’t fit the grain of what we were at the band and what we represented. That’s when it became frustrating.”

On “Pillowalk,” a down-tempo, with it’s lush soundscape, takes cues from PBR&B, with the L.A. hair metal guitars of Miguel, the sexual recklessness of Jhené Aiko and the massive choruses of The Weeknd.

Capturing the attention of Frank Ocean’s producer Malay, who was seen in the studio with Malik during the sessions of recording “Mind of Mine,” was done by the surprisingly less well-known names of MYKL.

His newfound lyricism shows his unique approach to songwriting, where he felt constrained to write based on the perspective of the four other members on one topic.

The sleek, sensual wordplay shows Zayn utilizing much more tongue-in-cheek vernacular. He has forsaken his squeaky-clean boyband writing for seductive metaphors.

Dropped at the same time as the single, the video illustrates a vivid, glitch art, kaleidoscope influence of Malik, amongst a coterie of different women of color. Primarily, model-actress Gigi Hadid is featured in the video alongside Malik.

While their relationship has been a topic of media speculation, Malik clarified that the two are “good friends” despite having been spotted together for several months.

This statement followed the singer calling off his engagement with Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.

“Pillowtalk” gives the world a taste of the risqué writing and sensual production that will surely define Zayn season approaching.