Music Video Review: ZAYN – ‘Pillowtalk’

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A surprising transition from One Direction's latest exit, and a preamble to a much more mature sound.

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After a staggering 5 years with One Direction (arguably the most popular band in the country), we are exposed to the first visual representation of Zayn Malik’s solo career, the one we’ve all been waiting for: the ‘Pillowtalk’ video.

At first glance, it’s hard to differentiate the singer’s artistic vision from that of ‘Five’ (anyone remember that ‘Get On Up’ video?) or the likes of JLS, until the otherwise orthodox strobe lighting reveals a perfectly chiseled Gigi Hadid in an inverted colour offering. Less than twenty seconds into the video, viewers can instantly see a shift in focus from the days of 1D, and the level of sophistication is raised.

The video is comprised of various Zayn and Gigi closeups – so as not to flaunt his new-found relationship in front of former fiance Perrie Edwards of course – as well as some distorted imagery of the model herself. Whether it is  an attempt to be considered avant-garde, or simply a further emphasis on his departure from the boyband era, the video takes an edgier direction by incorporating the prerequisite ‘nude model’ shot, background graphics and smoke scenes, though having little or no relevance, seem provide a deeper aesthetic to an otherwise mediocre love song.

The movement within the video is strong and engaging, and manages to well-reflect the pace and ideology of the song. It is symbolism in its simplest form with the recurring use of reds – through dripping paint and shattered glass which is essentially reflective of the sort of passion that goes hand-in-hand with the trials and tribulations of modern-day relationships. It presents a juxtaposition almost, of the emotions often connoted with love – not only through the lyrics “paradise” and “warzone”, but through the depiction of such opposing imagery. Ranging from still shots of roses and, quite explicitly, the picture of Gigi’s face, it goes on to display the ‘warzone’ aspect of relationships through the distorted kaleidoscopic views and screaming faces.

All in all, the video is surprising considering its mature content is sourced from an ex-Directioner, and expressive through the range of movement, colour and imagery. It effectively represents the groundwork of the song, whilst managing to display Zayn’s newly flourishing romance with a Victoria’s Secret model. A win-win.

‘Pillowtalk’ is out now via RCA, with the video available to watch below.

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Head of Relations for The Edge and Fashion Marketing student at Southampton University. P.S. I tweet - a lot (@naviwbu)

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