Release Date: Dec 14, 2018
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B, Alternative R&B
A 27-track mosaic to be poured over time and again, 'Icarus Falls' is the album on which Zayn Malik reaches his potential Zayn Malik could have been Icarus. He was flying high, above everyday life with the once-in-a-generation boyband, One Direction. After leaving the group, his path seemed rocky. His debut album, 2016’s 'Mind Of Mine', on which he adopted an R&B persona, was critically and commercially successful, but it never truly felt like Zayn.
Flying perilously close to the limits of an average attention span, former One Direction crooner Zayn Malik risks a fate similar to the titular namesake of his sophomore effort, Icarus Falls. With his gorgeous voice and a batch of irresistibly seductive gems, he approaches greatness. However, considering this double album comprises 27 tracks, Icarus Falls is too much of what could have been a very good thing.
Zayn--fka Zayn Malik, fka one-fifth of the British boy-band supernova One Direction--named his second album after the myth of Icarus, the seraphic optimist who flew too close to the sun and snuffed himself out as a result. It's in keeping with Zayn's status as a reluctant pop star: He was the first member to depart from his Simon Cowell-sutured group (four months before the other four went on indefinite hiatus), his social-media presence is mostly low-key, and the promotion around his new releases are comparatively low-key affairs. Too much excess chatter, after all, results in the music, the reason Zayn became Zayn in the first place, receding to the background.
The Lowdown: One Direction was never meant to last. Simon Cowell took five teenage boys who had been eliminated from The X Factor and reformed them into a pecuniary powerhouse. Together they steamrolled radio charts and sold out stadiums across the world. But all that commercial success hid the fact that none of these boys had wanted to be in a boy band in the first place.
An amalgamation of moods - from one of love, moving into excitement to poignant reminiscence about an ex - Zayn Malik's second studio album 'Icarus Falls' is stocked full charisma, his signature R&B influences, and much more ambition than his first foray into a solo career. The former member of The World's Biggest Boyband debuted as a solo artist in 2016 with 'Mind Of Mine' which was critically and commercially acclaimed, but within 'Icarus Falls' he comes into his own across 27 tracks that explore a spectrum of musical styles and sentiments. Starting off strong with love-laden 'Let Me' the album leaves you with the anticipation of repeat-worthy songs that seem sure to follow.
F ormer One Direction-er Zayn Malik's first solo album in 2016 had a mixed reception. His rebranding to R&B-pop made sense, and vocally and production-wise, it was undoubtedly accomplished - but puerile lyrics and lack of conciseness let it down. With this context, it's hard to believe Malik's second full-length won't be plagued by the same issues: the opening line is "Sweet baby, our sex has meaning" and the record comprises 27 songs (90 minutes).