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Album Review: Nobody Is Listening by ZAYN

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Zain Malik, or better known by his stage name, ZAYN, is an English singer and songwriter. He got his start in the music industry with the boy band One Direction. After five years with the group, he left and decided to focus on a solo career. Now, five years later, Zayn has come out with his third studio album, Nobody Is Listening.
 
The first track from the album is Calamity. With a track name like Calamity, I would have expected this to be a little more loud and crazy, however, we just have a descending bass line for most of the track. Even more strange is that we have a spoken word/rapping part from Zayn. He seems pretty upset about something during this track and you can definitely see it in the lyrics as well. At this point, it seems he's out of control and is having a lot of issues with trust.

Better seems to return to the normal pop sounds that we have heard from him before. It also seems to do a complete 180 with some of his singing and some of the themes on the previous track. Also, the jumpy notes and jazz-like guitar definitely adds to the smoothness of this track. This track seems to hint at the relationship between him and Gigi Hadid. While it has been on and off, it seems like the track is talking about second chances.
 
Outside opens up with an acoustic guitar and some inaudible layered vocals. It seems to be a slow paced track that mostly stays that way for the entirety of the track. It doesn't really grow much instrumentally, but you do have instruments changed out here and there. Zayn seems to be hinting at a relationship again on this track. He talks about wanting another chance, and even if it doesn't work, they can still say that they tried.
 
Vibez is the shortest track on the album, just under three minutes in length. This was also a promotional single for the album. It opens up with some weird, inaudible, reverbed sound effects. After that, Zayn comes in with his singing, but the weird vocals are still there in the background. This album continues with some tracks dedicated to his girlfriend, and the chorus seems to take on several different innuendos, which you can probably find on this short track.
 
When I saw the track listing for When Love's Around, I was pretty excited to see Syd on this track. I mostly follow her for her work with Odd Future and The Internet, but she's a great artist that definitely deserves more attention. Also, it's perfect since their voices mesh together well. Zayn seems to talk about how he's missing this special person at the moment. However, he knows that this love is real and that he's falling for her.

Connexion is another track that just opens up with an acoustic guitar. I was a bit disappointed by the opening of the track, but honestly, it started to grow on me as the track continued. The hype did die down a bit when they altered his singing voice in an odd electronic way. I do love the way he sings during the chorus though, so I guess that's a plus. With quarantine in full force, he talks about wanting a physical connection, not just a digital one.

Sweat opens up with a smooth synth line as well as some electronic percussive notes. It definitely has an 80s aesthetic the moment the track starts, and you can hear it from the 'scoop' of the synth when the track starts. Even the instrumentation during the chorus adds to that type of feeling, which has been common in the past decade of music. On this track, he talks about the love he feels during the physical side of a relationship.

Unfuckwitable tunes down the album again with the regular guitar parts. Besides the different guitar and other instruments thrown in here, the vocals definitely seem more playful and bouncy throughout this track. It also seems a bit more light and free flowing compared to previous tracks. Zayn talks about how no one can mess with him on this track. He also goes on to talk about how he knows what he's worth and how people used to say he wouldn't go anywhere when he went solo.

Windowsill opens up with some opposing string parts. You have the lower string part switching between octaves, and then the higher string part seems to carry the melody of the track. Other than that, Zayn was able to recruit Devlin for this track. However, the track suddenly takes a quick change when his part comes in so it kind of breaks up the laid back vibe of the track. I think we could have done without his part, or not change up the beat. Zayn continues to incorporate several innuendos through the entirety of the track.

Tightrope opens up with some inaudible vocals and a more interesting guitar line then some of the ones we heard past tracks. While it is your typical pop song, something tells me that there was more emotion thrown into this track, which you can easily tell by the lyrics. While he wasn't sure if he was ready to be in a committed relationship, he knew he had to give it his all since something was telling him that this was the person. It's also interesting since there's a part in Urdu thrown in there.

The final and longest track on the album is River Road. The track is just under four minutes in length. While it starts out as a normal acoustic track, it does get more lively the longer the track carries on. There are also some sweet vocal harmonies later on, but that's nothing new by this point in the album. It seems like when he has these dark feelings or is feeling hopeless, he chooses to talk to his significant other since she understands him.

There are some interesting and fun tracks on this album and I can't deny that. The part that I don't really enjoy is that there are some pretty dull moments on this album and quite a few that just seem like typical pop songs. I guess I wasn't expecting much from this album, but I did come out enjoying more than I thought I would.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: Better, When Love's Around, Sweat
 
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