Zayn - "Pillowtalk"

Zayn Pillowtalk
Zayn - "Pillowtalk". Courtesy RCA

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Released January 29, 2016 by RCA

Written by Zayn Malik, Anthony Hannides, and Michael Hannides

Produced by MYKL and Levi Lennox 

Pros

  • Zayn's sexy crooning
  • Slow, intimate, insistent R&B beat
  • Successful transition to adult music

Cons

  • The song could have pushed for either more intimacy or a bigger chorus

Review

The sound of this first solo single from former One Direction member Zayn Malik should not be a big surprise to most of his fans.

However, it is a refreshing change of pace. Instead of the big arena pop-rock sounds favored by One Direction lately, Zayn follows a chilled out sexy, romantic path on "Pillowtalk."

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Zayn Malik said directly that "Pillowtalk" is about sex. He says, "Everybody has sex, and it's something people wanna hear about." The song describes sex as both a "paradise" and a "war zone." It is "dirty and raw." The song immediately confirms that 23-year-old Zayn Malik is an adult pop artist. He has left the teenage years in One Direction far behind.

"Pillowtalk" kicks off with a strong, slow beat surrounded by electronic effects and Zayn's first words encouraging listeners to "Climb on board." His sexy crooning is solid. To these ears his singing is more solid than that displayed on Justin Bieber's current chart-topping hits. "Pillowtalk" refuses to shift from the slow, pounding beat and delivers an insistent sound that will probably find its way into many bedrooms in 2016.

 

Some fans have speculated whether the song "Pillowtalk," with its commentary on sex being both pleasure and emotional pain, is about Zayn Malik's former fiance Perrie Edwards of the girl group Little Mix. The pair were engaged to be married in late 2013, but the engagement was called off in the summer of 2015 before they were married.

 

Co-writing "Pillowtalk" himself, Zayn Malik worked with the writing and production duo MakeYouKnowLove or MYKL for short. The duo is composed of brothers Mike and Anthony Hannides. The debut album Mind of Mine is set to be released on March 25, 2016.

An accompanying music video for "Pillowtalk" features fashion model Gigi Hadid, Zayn Malik's current girlfriend. The clip has been well received for matching the sexy spirit of the song and moving the artist forward away from the One Direction boy band image.

Reports are that "Pillowtalk" instantly climbed to #1 on iTunes in 60 different countries. It is on target to debut at the top of the UK pop singles chart and Spotify lists "Pillowtalk" as the #1 streaming song globally. It has immediately jumped into the top 40 at mainstream pop radio in the US.

Zayn Malik's story is familiar to many pop fans. He was born to a British Pakistani father and an English mother. He first competed as a solo artist on in 2010, but after being eliminated from the competition, he was asked if he wanted to form a band with other eliminated solo singers. That was the genesis of the group One Direction.

One Direction finished third on X Factor, but following the end of the show, they quickly became worldwide pop superstars.

The group's first four studio albums all went to #1 on the charts in the US. Their fifth Made In the A.M. was only kept out of the top spot by Justin Bieber's Purpose. Zayn Malike appeared on the first four albums, and he left the band on March 25, 2015 in advance of the fifth collection. As a member of the group he was partially responsible for record sales in the range of 50 million worldwide.

"Pillowtalk" is a strong first move for Zayn as a solo artist. He has overtly distinguished himself from the group One Direction and, from the early sales numbers and response at pop radio, he is well on his way to being a successful solo artist. Mind Of Mine will be one of the most anticipated new albums of spring 2016.