When Zayn flew the One Direction nest, leaving a burning pile of crying emojis in his wake, his musical future was unclear. A few months later he returned with a debut solo single "Pillow Talk", a strange, Miguel-lite number which has the word "fuck" in it and features his girlfriend in the music video, just incase anyone didn't realise he's totally grown up now, and probably has sex and smokes weed, like, all the time. However, it didn't quite receive the hysterical response we might have assumed, from critics or even fans.
For me, the reason for its lacklustre reception was the style of music: with his vocal range, Zayn should by rights be an Usher Raymond for the 2010s, making throwback slow jamz like this (except without Chris Brown and without the lyrics "fuck you back to sleep"), piled with double entendrés about cunnilingus and occasional features from rappers. And partly, it feels like that is what he's been trying to do, but rather than going in two-footed, Zayn has just been dipping his perfect toe in the R&B water (see: that Taylor Swift collab with the horrific video where he sounds lowkey amazing).
So that makes his new song, a link-up with PARTYNEXTDOOR, a welcome change. "Still Got Time" is the sort of track that people will almost certainly describe as "tropical" (which, snooze), but Zayn's vocal has rarely sounded better – he pulls back to showcase his caramel smooth tones over his range (assumedly to show he's not a one trick pony), and kind of sings PARTYNEXTDOOR off the track at the same time. All he needs to do now is record an Usher covers album and I'll be satisfied.
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(Image via Wikipedia Commons)