Zayn Malik has kept fans and non-fans waiting for his third album ever since he dropped ‘Icarus Falls’ in 2018. The album didn’t perform as well commercially as many would have predicted from an ex-member of One Direction, one of the biggest and most successful boybands ever, owing largely to Malik’s sound shifting to a more R&B sound, a significant departure from his pop days. That does not take, however, take away from the fact that it was and remains a solid album, one that proved Malik’s mettle as both a soloist and a songwriter. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the mere hint of a follow-up album from the singer has everyone excited.
But while Malik’s singles and features are widely known, his other solo songs off both ‘Icarus Falls’ and his 2016 debut release ‘Mind of Mine’ warrant just as much attention. Without further ado, here are five songs from Zayn Malik that are severely underrated.
‘Like I Would’
A break-up jam that’ll have you in your feels while dancing up a storm, this song performed relatively well commercially, but was mildly overshadowed by tracks like ‘Pillowtalk’ off the same album, ‘Mind of Mine’. The electro-R&B and dance song is funky as hell and has Malik’s signature vocals paired with lyrics that speak of a lover scorned as he reminds his ex of everything she’s losing as he walks away. The song’s music video earned praise as well, featuring Malik in a neon suit and a bright orange eye contact that was inspired by Marvel Comics’ current Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, who was himself inspired by Malik.
Malik’s departure from his boyband image was sealed with tracks like ‘Drunk’ off his debut, with this song, in particular, being a laid-back tune built on the theme of a feeling like you’re perpetually intoxicated, almost like being locked in an eternal summer fling. In his self-titled book, the singer shared about this song, “The idea for that song came about when I was working with the Hannides and one of them was telling me he’d just been to a music festival where everybody had got wasted. I wanted to take that vibe into a more downtime space, and Drunk became a song for home, but inspired by what happens when you go out.”
There are far too many bops on ‘Icarus Falls’, which is understandable given the album has 27 tracks in total. But there are a few tracks that really stand out, and ‘Insomnia’ is one of them. The song sees a broken narrator wondering “What if you never come back?” as he roams the night streets listlessly. But as Malik delivers lines like, “There’s nothing new / I made another hit, I made another tune / What if we never know why hearts deceive us? / The night calls to dreamers,” the lines between the song’s narrator and singer blur. We’ve all found ourselves wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out if what we’re doing has any real meaning, and this song calls out to the burned-out dreamers inside us all.
This track is arguably one of the best demonstrations of musical growth. The funk-laden tune seems to pull elements from ‘Mind of Mine’, including electro, R&B, and funk, all while still delivering a sound that’s fresh and true to Malik’s growth as an artiste. The same could be said for the song’s visuals, which see Malik appear as a superhero who battles criminals in order to retrieve a stolen gem, eventually teaming up with a superheroine to fight the boss. Idolator’s Mike Nied commended Malik for taking a “sonic risk” on the track, and it’s certainly on that paid off because this really is one of the singer’s best. The song and video were also noted for expanding on Malik’s evident flair for some tasteful dramatics.
‘Flight Of The Stars’
This ride-or-die anthem off ‘Icarus Falls’ is a standout for a variety of reasons, ranging from Malik’s professing his undying love to a person whose side he promises to never leave to his stunning vocal performance including a near-acapella section and some gorgeous low notes – a contrast to the soaring high notes he is more widely known for. Additionally, the lyrics reference the myth of Icarus (from Greek Mythology). Icarus, the son of the master craftsman and creator of the Labyrinth, Daedalus, once flew to close to the sun and got burned. Malik likens himself to Icarus, with his lover being likened to the sun. As this romantic song progresses, it becomes clear that the narrator might love just a little too hard, to the point of bing blinded and fully consumed by the one they love.
Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!