Zayn Malik, ex-member of the boyband One Direction, released his second album “Icarus Falls” on the 14th of December. The album includes 27 tracks, which is part of the reason I am writing this review a good month after the release. 27 tracks is a lot to listen and digest fully, as well as appreciate the work. This album was one of the albums I was most excited for in 2018 as his first album “Mind of Mine,” released in 2016, was one of my top favorites with very addicting and creative melodies. It was a chance to fully appreciate Malik’s vocals. This album produced the songs “Pillowtalk,” which quickly went up to number one on Billboard’s Top 100, and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Taylor Swift, featured in the movie “50 Shades of Grey.” He achieved all of this success right after leaving the One Direction heartthrobs.
Zayn Malik’s new album “Icarus Falls” provides a nostalgic, dream-like sound and creates an alluring, almost supernatural, feel. However, this album really shows the power of Zayn’s voice. This album shows more of a real Zayn Malik with a style of music that really shows who he is artistically, unlike with his first album “Mind Of Mine,” which was much more commercially successful and created an R&B persona. This concept-themed album about the Greek myth of Icarus seems more risky and daring on Malik’s part because he is putting himself on display and revealing who he really is. Therefore, this album seems to be symbolic and metaphorical to Malik’s own life: with him leaving One Direction to becoming a solo artist to his struggles with mental illness. The Greek myth of Icarus deals with Icarus and his father, the creator of the Labyrinth, imprisoned in Crete. His father, in an attempt to escape, creates wings made out of wax and feathers. Icarus’s father warns him of not being too smug, telling him not to fly too low or too high, so that the sea’s dampness would not clog his wings or the sun’s heat would not melt them. Icarus ignored his father and flew too close to the sun, where his wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned.
Concept-themed albums are hard to pull off, but Zayn does an incredible job of creating this illusion of Icarus “flying” then “falling.” The album is separated into two different sections. The first section starts off with soulful love-themed tracks. “Let Me,” the opening track, perfectly demonstrates Malik’s smooth and gorgeous falsettos, definitely creating high expectations for the rest of the album. The track “There You Are” has beautiful and romantic lyrics. “There you are, there you are / You’re there with open arms.”
“Icarus Interlude” shows the change in theme and sound, thus completing the first section of the album. This is demonstrated by the ghost-like guitar sound and him acknowledging that he is like Icarus in the lyric “Call me Icarus / I guess I flew too close to the sun.” He’s acknowledging that things are changing. This is further demonstrated by tracks like “Good Guy,” where he is not the good guy and not the right person for someone. “You Wish You Knew” is where he withholds his emotions. The track “Good Years” gives his perspective and memories of being in One Direction with the lyrics, “I prayed to God I didn’t waste all my good years.” This track specifically caused conflict with One Direction member Louis Tomlinson, with Tomlinson calling Malik a hypocrite on Twitter.
This album also featured Rapper Nicki Minaj, and Rapper/DJ Timbaland.
Overall, this album really showed who Zayn is artistically and shows the power of his voice. Some of my favorite tracks from his album are: “Flight of the Stars,” “Common,” “Satisfaction” and “Scripted.” I encourage people to take time to fully appreciate the depth of “Icarus Falls.”