Zayn Malik is finally free to make his own mistakes on 'Mind of Mine'

Zayn Malik is finally free to make his own mistakes on 'Mind of Mine' Mashable We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Mashable Mashable Mashable Australia Mashable France Mashable India Mashable UK Sign in Like Follow Follow Mashable see more  > Search Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop More Channels Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop Company About Us Licensing & Reprints Archive Mashable Careers Contact Contact Us Submit News Advertise Advertise Legal Privacy Policy Terms of Use Cookie Policy Apps iPhone / iPad Android Resources Subscriptions Sites Mashable Shop Job Board Social Good Summit Entertainment Like Follow Follow Zayn Malik is finally free to make his own mistakes on 'Mind of Mine' 776 Shares Share Tweet Share What's This? Image: RCA By Tricia Gilbride 2016-03-25 17:25:53 UTC Zayn is getting used to space. On his first solo album, it's like his urges and falsetto finally have the house to themselves — and there are no parents around.  He kicks off Mind of Mine with shades of Panda Bear's trippy, woozy Person Pitch and a clear mission statement: This isn't  us . This is me.  SEE ALSO: Zayn releases track list for his album over a picture of sperm The album's March 25 release date is no accident — it marks a year to the day Zayn officially left One Direction, though Malik was clearly checked out of the group before the big break-up. Allegedly, Malik didn’t particularly want to audition for The X-Factor; his mom had to convince him to show up . Then Simon Cowell plucked him from the pile of nearly-made-its and teamed him with four other goofy boys who didn’t want to dance. Cowell declared that One Direction was better than the sum of its parts — and the group was.  But Zayn grew weary of trading off lines with four other lads. Sure, the boy can harmonize — and when Malik's own vocals blend with Kehlani's on the new album's sole feature, it's magical. But otherwise, Malik wisely opts out of high-profile features on Mind of Mine, choosing instead to make a definitive statement about going solo. The lyrics are frequently corny, to use a word Zayn would use to describe One Direction. His delivery, though, is on point: Malik could sell a bottle of water to the ocean. A lot of the album is about sex — how Zayn is both definitely having it and really good at it, he swears. But that's par for the course when former teen pop stars make their Serious Adult debuts. Every young artist trying to prove his or her maturity needs an "I'm a Slave 4 U" moment; Zayn has about six of them. Hell, he even  recorded vocals with a condom on the microphone.  Zayn's also not the first ex-teen idol to play the sad-boy R&B game; consider the Justins, both Timberlake and Bieber. But that's to be expected: He hasn’t had the creative luxury of piecing together an identity shrouded in mystery, like his painfully obvious career models, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. (Though Malik did work with Malay, one of Ocean's collaborators, on the album.) Instead, he's still figuring out his identity — it has, after all, been just one year since he struck out on his own. Mind of Mine shows his work, but doesn't end on a definitive note of what that identity may be. This is the guy who defended the Minions from cyberbullies — he definitely has more interesting things to say than critics might give him credit for. And no other pop star has hit #1 on the Billboard charts by singing in Urdu, like Zayn does on "fLoWer" as a nod to his Pakistani roots.   "It ain't about who's winning or losing," Zayn sings on "lUcOzAdE." "It's bout the path you're choosing." Ostentatious sexuality aside, Mind of Mine is a promising start. It's clear that Malik has raw talent, rOoM tO gRoW and the drive to make his mark.  #RealMusic — the hashtag Malik famously used when explaining why he'd left One Direction — is not a product. #RealMusic might not even be music. #RealMusic is a state of mind.  Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Topics: album , album review , Celebrities , Conversations , Entertainment , Music , One Direction , pop star , R&B , reviews , zayn About Us Jobs Advertise Subscribe Privacy Terms Mashable is a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe. ©2005-2016 Mashable, Inc. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved. Designed in collaboration with Code & Theory