Just over 2 years since his last album, Icarus Falls, British singer Zayn Malik is back with his third studio album titled Nobody Is Listening – his first since being a new father.
Having left One Direction just over 6 years ago (don’t tell anyone, we still cry about it, sometimes) – Zayn is well and truly settled into his solo career, having a backlog of certified hits and fan favorites.
Now, he’s back showcasing his unique brand of sultry R&B with his latest studio effort.
So, which tracks give off good ‘Vibez’ and which tracks are a ‘Calamity’? Read on to find out – here’s our review of Nobody is Listening songs ranked from worst to first.
Wow, it took a minute to process what was happening here! Some unexpected rapping opens this album and it quickly sets the tone for the record. Honest, raw, somber and pretty cutthroat sometimes (“You’re a snake/Fell off the ladder”), Calamity is a truly interesting track that shows Zayn at his most vulnerable and contemplative.
Zayn’s alluring vocals finally come in just about after halfway as he croons the album title over and over. Interesting track sonically – just not totally sure we’d have this on repeat, as it is sounds pretty heavy compared to the album’s breezier tracks.
The production here and Zayn’s deeper-than-usual vocals reminds us of a John Legend song that we can’t quite put our finger on. Connexion is really sparse, sweet and unique (those crazy high notes!), but the relatively instrument-free production does sound a little too empty sometimes.
The Urban Dictionary of the word? Being unable to be, ahem, “messed” with. Zayn already exudes an irreverent, bad boy aura – but this song just heightens his persona even more. It’s a fun listen the first few times Zayn sings the title of the song, but not one of our best on the album.
Better, the lead single, is one of those tracks that has everything we love about Zayn wrapped in one song – a romantic message, big vocals, an R&B groove and chill vibes – this track is a perfect song to play when you’re just kickin’ it. Simple and chill.
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7. Windowsill feat. Devlin
One of the more obviously hip-hop inspired tracks judging by the production and rap feature, Windowsill shows shades of Post Malone while remaining very uniquely ‘Zayn’ at the same time. It’s a nice breezy track with a big, anthemic chorus – but Devlin’s rap comes in a little too suddenly for us.
Whew falsetto – Zayn’s back on top of his vocal game with these breathy high notes. Outside is a welcome slow jam with a really soothing chorus. It’s bittersweet message about potentially breaking up is a bit sad, but makes for a compelling listen.
“Why’s it gotta feel like I’m walking a tightrope?/Why you wanna see how far I fall?” – Zayn opens Tightrope with charmingly honest lyrics and as the song goes on, the sentimental message of the song and guitar-driven production keep swelling. Spacey and a little ethereal, Tightrope is one of the more innocent, sweeter tracks on Nobody Is Listening.
4. When Love’s Around feat. Syd
Umm, Syd’s opening vocals are literally perfect here. Layered and atmospheric, she sets up the song flawlessly by creating a slinky, enchanting atmosphere. Of course, Zayn slays his part effortlessly too – and the harmonies they create together blend in well. Zayn’s music is always so good to put on in the evening, and this one is no different.
Could someone order an ice cold drink for us? Because it is getting steamy in here! Sensual (“Let me touch you where you like it”) and quite graphic (“My skin on your skin/Again and again/Sweat for me”), this one is sexy, sexy, sexy – and are we complaining? Nope.
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2. River Road
The album’s closer is something totally different altogether. More in the folk/rock lane, River Road is like a softer, gentler response to Calamity. In that sense, it’s a suitable ending track. Both songs share similar themes of introspection, self-reflection and contemplative monologues about life, but River Road is dreamier and more aspirational. Plus, Zayn’s naked voice here over a simple guitar line is a rare moment that we treasure.
Second single Vibez is the first time on the album that we really get an up-tempo beat with a more dynamic, exciting production. Lush, sexy and featuring that nostalgic R&B sound that you might find on a Khalid album, Vibez is a short and sweet affair worthy of many, many listens. We adored this bop and have therefore officially ranked it the best song on Nobody is Listening.
Nobody Is Listening is certainly an album people will be listening to. A short 11-track record, it’s packed with slow jams, breezy anthems, sweet messages and sometimes, Zayn at his most experimental.
We love that he’s shown a lot of artistic growth, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for him – but what do you guys think? Do you agree with our ranking? Let us know in the comments!
We’ve also ranked the tracks on Zayn’s first album! Check out every song on Mind of Mine ranked worst to best.