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Album Review

The brief, brooding, alt-R&B album opener from Zayn's solo debut album, Mind of Mine, instructs listeners, "Open up and see what's inside of my/My mind."

So what can fans of this former One Direction member expect to "see" if they accept his invitation? The title from Madeline Roth's MTV News article about this album does a pretty succinct job of answering that question: "13 Scandalous Lyrics From Zayn's Mind of Mine That You'd Never Hear in a 1D Song."

The article's subtitle adds, "In case you had any doubt, Zayn definitely likes sex."

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

"sHe" offers a rare moment that moves beyond mattress gymnastics into expressions of emotional intimacy and longing, too. "She's crying out that she loves me," Zayn tells us before continuing to describe a desperate woman's affection for him. "Holding my hands so I won't leave/'Cause baby don't wanna be lonely/She says, 'I just want you to hold me.'" "rEaR vIeW" vows, "I will tell no lies," then promises, "I'll go wherever you are." The song also confesses cryptically, "I'm tired of looking at myself/In my rearview," perhaps hinting at a desire to move beyond the baggage of the past. "BeFoUr" confronts an ex for not being completely honest.

"lUcOzAdE" (also the name of an energy drink) suggests that materialism and smoking (probably pot) aren't filling the void in Zayn's heart ("Wanna take these watches, chains and gold rings/I'm getting caught up in the feelings that they bring/A lack of sanity, losing touch with reality/Smoking too much, it's starting to fog up my clarity").

Objectionable Content

The aptly titled "wRoNg" not only doesn't apologize for being interested in casual sex, it practically brags about it ("You're looking in the wrong place for my love/Don't think because you're with me this is real"). Then guest singer Kehlani essentially says the same thing: "Baby, some people are meant to be loved and others just naked." Elsewhere on the track, Zayn gushes, "I like when she's undressing" and explicitly describes a woman's sexual arousal.

Two tracks ("PILLOWTALK" and the Deluxe Edition bonus track "SHE DON'T LOVE ME") repeatedly employ the f-word in a sexual context. Conflict and carnal connections mingle on the former, with Zayn describing the couple's loud copulating ("So we'll p--- off the neighbors") as being "our paradise and our war zone."

On "iT's YoU," Zayn says he can't relinquish his grip on a dysfunctional relationship, even though he says of his partner, "She don't/Give a f--- about what I need." That's also the story on "fOoL fOr YoU" ("This love is tainted/I need you and I hate it"), but her seductive looks are enough to overcome whatever misgivings he might harbor regarding the relationship. Clothes again come off on "BoRdErZ," with Zayn demanding, "Give me all of you." And he croons to his paramour that he wants to "taste your sweet profanity." "TiO" tells us, "I just want to watch you when you take it off/Let's get naked and explore/Our inner secrets."

Morals get mangled on "sHe" as Zayn says of a clingy partner, "She wants somebody to love/In the right way/ … In the wrong way." On "lUcOzAdE," he's impatient for an ex's current partner to vacate the scene so he can move in. He adds suggestively, "I think I got it wrong/When I told you I was over you/Or were you under me?" Deluxe Edition bonus track "LIKE I WOULD" strives mightily to convince a woman that her new lover lacks the skills Zayn brings to the bedroom.

Inebriation—both literally due to alcohol and figuratively due to infatuation—is the central theme of "dRuNk." Not surprisingly, alcoholic excess soon leads to still more sex. Some of these tracks add s-words to the previously mentioned f-bombs.

Summary Advisory

One song on Mind of Mine garnering particularly positive attention from mainstream critics is "INTERMISSION: fLoWer." Its brief lines are sung in Urdu, the language of Pakistan, where Zayn Malik's father hails from. Those lyrics are reportedly translated, "Until the flower of love has blossomed/This heart won't be at peace."

That's a lovely romantic sentiment.

And it's a pity that such innocent, tender wonder isn't allowed to flourish and grow. Because as Madeline Roth has rightly noted already, Zayn's Mind is a lot more focused on leering lust than lasting love.

And this heart is not at peace.

Plot Summary

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March 25, 2016

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

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