Review: “Nobody Is Listening” to this album, but should you be?

Correspondent Jada Hester reviews former One Direction member Zayn Malik's new album "Nobody is Listening." (Courtesy of Vevo)Correspondent Jada Hester reviews former One Direction member Zayn Malik's new album "Nobody is Listening." (Courtesy of Vevo)

Jada Hester, Correspondent

If anyone was wondering how far Zayn Malik wanted to get away from One Direction’s music, just take a listen to his latest album, “Nobody Is Listening.”

Released on Jan. 15, the album is full of brooding, sex and songs that generally all sound the same. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell when one song ends and the next begins. 

Long gone are the vibes from his previous album, “Icarus Falls,” released all the way back in late 2018. 

“Nobody Is Listening” begins with “Calamity,” a surprising rap song that allows listeners to really hear Malik’s accent. It’s slow and calm, but it nearly comes across like the singer doesn’t exactly know how to rap. To be fair, he says in the track, “I rap this, I say it for my sanity / Whatever the calamity, I did this for myself.” Perhaps he doesn’t exactly care what fans think of the album.

In any case, other tracks revolve around sex and nothing else, as can be heard in “Windowsill,” “Sweat” and “Vibez,” among others. They are allegedly meant to be confessional songs dedicated to Malik’s breakup and reunion with Gigi Hadid. 

However, there are many, many more mentions of physical love than romance on this album. There is also no mention of fatherhood in any of his songs, though Hadid gave birth to their daughter in September of 2020. 

Perhaps the best song on “Nobody Is Listening” is “River Road,” a slow, R&B track that has Malik singing about his hopes for the future. It led the entire album to a spectacular ending, and the singer’s vocals really shine. 

Some of the most meaningful lyrics on the album are in this track: “Breeze outside my window turned to color / Know that I will see the sun again / Leaves have turned into a tint of orange / Answers that will lie inside myself.” 

If every track had been like “River Road,” then “Nobody Is Listening” would’ve been a much bigger hit. However, maybe when COVID-19 isn’t barring anyone from partying anymore, songs like “When Love’s Around” might be heard on the dancefloor. 

Not every song has to mean something, and maybe that’s what Zayn Malik intended.

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