Like Madonna and Cher before him, former One Direction member Zayn Malik has dropped his last name and is now simply “Zayn.” Along with his last name, Zayn has also dropped his first new song as a solo artist, “PILLOWTALK.”
In the back of my mind, I expected Zayn’s solo career to sort of drift into oblivion. I was one of those girls who felt sort of betrayed by Zayn’s departure from the band, mainly because I already purchased a $120 ticket to One Direction’s 2015 “On the Road Again” tour expecting to see ALL FIVE OF THEM when he made his announcement. So I really think that both Simon Cowell and Zayn owe me one-fifth of my ticket price, meaning that they owe me $24 (I’m sure both Simon and Zayn have $12 to spare) because they robbed me of my chance to see Zayn’s gorgeousness AND hear his “Steal My Girl” high note live.
Sure, there were all those interviews where Zayn had to give the same spiel about how he left One Direction because it wasn’t really him anymore and he didn’t care for the music he was making. Interview after interview, I never really had a sense that there was a true artist behind all that mystery–just sort of an arrogant young man with a lovely falsetto without any depth to burn it with.
To my surprise, Zayn’s new song, “PILLOWTALK” is all over the Internet and all over Top 40 Radio. It’s a song that I know won’t grow on me, and I never want to go out of my way to listen to. Yet, I rarely switch the station when I hear it on the radio. Deep down, there’s a part of me who wants to like Zayn’s foray into tryhard sex god shit, but I just can’t.
There’s an Ariana Grande problem here, in the sense that I can’t understand what Zayn is singing most of the time. Unlike Ariana Grande’s catchier songs, though, “PILLOWTALK” sounds like that song that plays when two lame nerds in a movie walk into a club populated by a bunch of annoying bros. This song is for the AMBIANCE, man.
I don’t necessarily dislike the song, though I must agree with Harry Styles on this one–One Direction has done much better stuff, musically, and if the rest of Zayn’s album is anything like his first single, then it may not have been a good enough reason to abruptly leave the band. But I suppose this may all come down to a matter of taste.
Of course, I think like the music video is ridiculous, which I would kind of argue isn’t really up for debate. The “PILLOWTALK” music video features Zayn’s girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, as a sexed up love interest to a sexed up Zayn (dubbed by Medha, and Medha only, as “Gayn”).
To Hadid’s credit, she actually directed a much better music video for DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” (Joe Jonas, Hadid’s ex-boyfriend and ex-member of another boy band, is the lead singer of DNCE), so it kind of sucks (yeah, this is the first time you’ll hear me feign any sympathy for a rich, pretty Victoria’s Secret model) that she needed to star in this stupid music video to support her boyfriend, when we all know she could have probably directed a better one herself.
That being said, I wish Zayn the best of luck, and I really do hope that Zayn and former bandmate (and former smoking buddy) Louis Tomlinson patch things up soon. Zayn reportedly liked Louis’ Instagram of his newborn son, Freddie, because double-tapping a photo is definitely millennial code for détente.