This track marks a positive step for Zayn, but his potential and ability may leave the listener wanting even more.
‘PILLOWTALK’ marks the first solo release from singer-songwriter Zayn Malik, following his dramatic departure from the globally successful band One Direction last year. Taking a sharp turn from the indie rock vibes of his former band mates, Zayn progresses into the provocative territory of seductive R&B aiming for the mellow sounds of artists such as Frank Ocean and Bryson Tiller.
After spending a few days with the track it is evident that Zayn clearly has a very strong vocal ability which has effortlessly transitioned from stadium filling rock to studio soul jams. His opening ethereal vocals echo through the track creating a chilled head-swaying vibe; and the song’s chorus demonstrates his impressive vocal range – something which has been-well noted and admired since his introduction into the music scene.
There is a certain level of tension between the track’s production and Zayn’s tenor melody, with the sincerity of the drums providing a depth to the song and the Prince-esque guitar resonating through the chorus – this tension perfectly captured in the lyric “It’s our paradise and it’s our war zone” lulled at the chorus’ ending.
Despite these qualities, the track still fails to reach its full potential and leaves the promise of this track unfulfilled – maybe because we had set such high standards for what he could accomplish on his own. Zayn seems stuck between the commercial nature of his pop roots and the soulfulness of the genre he is attempting to be a part of. Is the song memorable? Yes. Is the song melodically well produced? Yes. Has he created something sonically distinct from his Syco past? Yes. But he can (and WILL) reach higher.
Zayn is on his way to becoming a certified contemporary R&B artist and a very successful one. ‘PILLOWTALK’ is a positive step in the right direction – but one will have to wait until his further material before fully critiquing and appreciating his new sound.
‘PILLOWTALK’ is out now via RCA Recording.