What Is Zayn Malik’s Ceiling As A Solo Artist?

Clive Davis 2016 Pre-Grammy Gala held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Los Angeles 02/14/2016 © WENN

Zayn Malik – now simply referred to as Zayn – has become one of pop’s most compelling stories in 2016. Why? Because he’s an ex-boy band member who has been quite honest about his displeasure with the “direction” of the said boy band and he’s dropping his own solo album. So far, Zayn has had a big year ahead of the release of Mind of Mine, which arrives March 25. The question is how high is Zayn’s ceiling, based upon the singles he’s released and his status as an ex-? So far, so good for Zayn seems to be the verdict.

“Pillowtalk” is the pop singer’s biggest claim to fame as a solo artist, debuting at no. 1 on the Billboard 100. How many more established, veteran musicians have missed the top spot on the Hot 100? Not only did “Pillowtalk” reach the mountaintop, it’s a legitimate solid urban-pop song that features topics central to pop these days – sex (“…reckless behavior / a place that is so pure, so dirty and raw / in the bed all day…f**king in and fighting on / it’s our paradise and it’s our war zone”). 

If “Pillowtalk” were the sole measurement of Zayn’s ceiling, then the newfound solo artist seems to be well on his way. “Pillowtalk” is certainly a big step – a sizable boost for an artist leaving the old guard and entering the new. But wait – there’s more beyond the battle between the sheets!

In addition to “Pillowtalk,” Zayn has released two other singles ahead of Mind of Mine: “iT’s YoU” and “Like I Would.” “iT’s YoU” contrasts “Pillowtalk,” serving as a chilling, beautiful ballad where Zayn wants to continue a relationship with this lady, despite the pain she inflicts (“And she don’t, she don’t, she don’t / give a f**k / about what I need”). “Like I Would” on the other hand have its eyes on the dance floor giving Zayn some tempo. “Like I Would” doesn’t supplant “Pillowtalk” or “iT’s YoU,” but it’s definitely sound and fun. 

So, how high is Zayn’s ceiling as far as a breakthrough album? Seems quite likely judging by the singles arriving prior to the album. The dude can definitely sing, and he seems to do himself a favor by opting for an edgier, less restrictive sound. The only way to make a judgment about Zayn – await the release of Mind Of Mine, due March 25.   So far, Zayn’s Mind seems pretty intelligent.

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