Zayn Malik released his third studio album, “Nobody is Listening,” last Friday through RCA Records which consists of 11 songs and has a runtime of 31 minutes.
“Nobody is Listening” has an R&B and bedroom-production feel to it. Many of the tracks seem to be reflections of Malik’s past experiences, as well as his relationship with model Gigi Hadid, who he has a newborn baby with. The album is overall enjoyable, easy and pleasant to listen to, yet it lacks any real or new innovation.
A number of producers and writers worked on this project, including Khalid, Charlie Handsome and David Phelan and artists Syd and Devlin are featured on “When Love’s Around” and “Windowsill.”
The opening track and only rap song on the album, “Calamity” comes across like a stream of Malik’s consciousness. The lyrics reference feeling trapped, weed, the past, and sex, which are presented as prominent motifs across the rest of the album.
“Better,” the second track and first single off the album, most likely references the on and off relationship between Malik and Hadid. This is showcased through lyrics like “Cause obviously, we go back So why would we ruin that?” It’s a sweet and relaxed song, but definitely not the strongest single/track.
The fourth track and second/final single “Vibez” is definitely the strongest track on the whole album. The production and energy are strong and Malik does not hold back with his impressive vocal range. The song is sexual and the production does a good job of echoing the lyrics.
“Connexion,” paints love as a drug and shares Malik’s need for a digital and physical “connexion.” In an Instagram livestream, Malik shared that this is his favorite song off the album. It’s another slow song, but is more introspective and personal than other ones off the project.
The final track, “River Road,” is a sad closer and feels like a breakup to another failed quest for love and stability. Lyrics like “We don’t define each other/ Stand on your own, be a pillar” and “Don’t you ever hope for something else?” leave the listener sad. They make them want to repeat the album as a way to experience the excitement of meeting someone new.
Overall, this album is cohesive and stylistically similar to what Malik has released in the past. He is very sensual in his work. The bedroom feel is an interesting production approach, considering the connections and status he has in the industry. Considering “Nobody is Listening” was created throughout 2020, quarantine could be the reason for the bedroom-y and familiar feel.
Even though he left One Direction in 2015 before the band broke up, it is hard for the listener to separate “solo” Malik from “One Direction” Malik. He has made sure his style is different from what the band’s was; however, he has not seemed to have made any effort to progress this sound since his first studio album, “Mind of Mine,” which dropped in 2016. I give this album a ⅗ because it’s cohesive and entertaining, yet lacks real innovation and excitement.