“Nobody Is Listening” speculates deeper irony


Athmika Sriram

“Nobody Is Listening” shows numerous people watching wide-eyed, which either contradicts the title or has a deeper meaning going on.

Former One Direction singer, Zayn Malik establishes his reign in the industry by sinking more into his evergreen R&B sound with his third studio album, “Nobody is Listening,” released on Jan. 15. With stripped back soundscapes and notes of yearning, the album allows Zayn to showcase his musical sound to be more personal and sophisticated.

Despite “Icarus Falls” flopping, Zayn Malik has still shown his unwavering loyalty to crafting R&B music — the style which he adopted after leaving One Direction. “Calamity” starts off solemn, with Malik rapping a message to the world through verse. The chorus lasts only four lines and repeats the title that many times. It carries the heavy weight of a prologue, and sets up what to expect for the audience. 

The second track, “Better” dropped as a single on Sep. 25, 2020. The intro starts off with jazzy, soulful guitar while progressing harmonically. The lyrics are centered around feelings of love and reconciliation, yet the music video shows Malik’s privacy being invaded by a stalker. It intrigues the audience as to why the album is titled “Nobody is Listening,” when it’s clear that this stalker is listening in on Malik’s private life.

“Vibez” shows Malik putting on a show for a blatantly empty theater. Again, it drives back attention to the album title, and perhaps alluding that nobody listens when it’s required. The lyrics however differ greatly — staying in tune with Malik’s usually sensual undertones.

“When Love’s Around” features Syd, a mainstream singer, and the song’s slow and captures a chic vibe with the pop-filled opening verse. The vocals compliment each artist’s style, and it’s a chill song to vibe your way through.

As can be expected from Malik’s albums, the track progression shifts to take on a more explicit side as shown through “Un****witable” and “Windowsill”. “Windowsill” features Devlin, an English rapper, yet it has a familiar feel to it, and could be compared to a Post Malone song in regard to the music style.

“Tightrope” has a lovely opening, and got a lot of attention for featuring lyrics from Indian singer Mohammad Rafi’s 1960 song “Chaudhvin Ka Chand”. The lyrics translate to “Are you the full moon or the dazzling sun / Whatever you may be I swear you are beyond compare.” 

The eleven-track album ends with “River Road,” which strikes a mournful note, yet manages to have a touch of calmness to it. It’s nearly a lullaby — soothing and pleasant to listen to.

“Nobody Is Listening” shows deep effort via its storytelling route, yet doesn’t quite hit the mark of Malik’s best work. However, after “Icarus Falls”, it serves as a good comeback and proves once again that Malik’s loyal fanbase will continue to support his work.