In a world viewed through the spectrum of One Direction, relationships are always tinged with, and sometimes drenched in positivity – if love isn’t working now, give it time, and it will. But on “It’s You”, Zayn touches on a love that is pain. “She” features a female protagonist that hasn’t loved or been loved “in the right way”. “Fool For You” depicts Malik as a man destined to return to the same woman forever, regardless of how tainted their love becomes. It’s this acceptance of the true complexity of love and relationships that really sets him apart from his one-time brethren. While they cover the black and white, and admittedly do it very well, Zayn has created his own lane where he can finally explore grey and pink matter to his heart’s content.
It seems natural then that Malik would choose the form of a pure R&B album, with a sly tip of the New Era cap to rap music at each turn, to showcase this brand new understanding. In fact, Zayn’s appreciation of these genres is possibly the most palpable influence on Mind Of Mine. In an interview with Complex, he spoke at length about 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me, and the significant impact the album had on him. Pac’s fearlessness, honesty and courage appealed to Malik, and despite still working to hone his sound on this debut, there’s a similar philosophy underpinning Mind of Mine.