Zayn’s ‘Icarus Falls’ tops previous projects

Across a hazy 27-tracks, English singer/songwriter Zayn Malik reveals a passionate, aching side of himself in his newly released solo album, “Icarus Falls.”

Due to being mildly disappointed with what his first solo album “Mind of Mine” had to offer, my expectations for this second album weren’t too incredibly high. However, after periodically releasing nine impressive singles over the course of 2018, Malik allows most of the album to live up to the standards set by the irresistible tracks that previewed it.

“Icarus Falls,” which was released Friday, Dec. 14, starts out strong with the first four presented tracks, “Let Me,” “Natural,” “Back To Life” and “Common.” However, the album then slowly dives into a handful of songs that lost my interest, as they failed to have their own individuality by containing slightly altered elements that were incredibly apparent in other tracks. Despite that, the album shines brightest in a handful of its concluding tracks and it is peppered along the way with a few songs that stand out and make up for what the others lack.

As Malik opens the album with the sweet and soulful “Let Me,” he then appropriately follows with the calm and satisfying melody that accompanies his mesmerizing vocals in “Natural” in attempt to maintain balance with the emotions he reveals in his tone and lyrics.  

Following these two tracks, comes one of my most favorite songs on the album, “Back To Life.” This is a unique song that starts out slow and hazy, but then soon makes an appropriate, upbeat shift that allows for the song to be lively and interesting while still being able to manage the mysterious vibe that fogs the track.

The album then gradually loses me through the mediocre songs sandwiched in between the superior beginning and concluding tracks.  But, songs such as the euphoric “If I Got You” and the powerful “There You Are” that spontaneously flaked the middle of the tracklist were able to hold by ear.

One of Malik’s pre-released singles, “Sour Diesel,” is the 16th track on the album and is by far one of my most favorite songs of the year. This track differs drastically from the moody and cold vibe presented in those before it as it is incredibly lively and holds a strong, rebellious tone. This makes up for the less-appealing tracks that you have to get through before getting to it.

After “Sour Diesel,” the album then falls off again as I found myself trudging through songs that sounded too familiar to ones I had already heard from the tracklist. While Malik’s voice and the instrumental that accompanies him is beautiful, a handful of the songs fail to stand out and hold their own individuality. I personally found myself enjoying the album the most towards the end, which is where I believe the strongest tracks are presented.

Representing the 23rd track on the album is “Rainberry” and at 25th is “No Candle No Light” featuring Nicki Minaj. Both of these are tasteful, unique songs that stand out amongst all the others and are by far two of my favorite songs in general.

“Icarus Falls” was an album that I genuinely had mixed emotions about, as there were times when I was incredibly impressed and overwhelmed with how much I was enjoying it, but then also found myself underwhelmed and disappointed at times. Regardless, I firmly believe that the nine singles Malik released throughout this year, along with a select other few, are the ones that make this album deserving of a listen.