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The ShortListen: Zayn (no. 241)

Who? Zayn

What’s the story? So the opening shot in the post-One Direction war has been fired - and it comes, unsurprisingly, from Zayn, on the first anniversary of him leaving the pop juggernaut. Aping Robbie Williams (and presumably hoping for the same sort of success), since leaving he's done nothing but pour scorn upon his former band, rubbishing the music (despite the fact that some of it was actually pretty good) and trying to stake out more of an edgy position - he wants to be the bad boy, he wants to make cool, 'proper' music that, of course, he always wanted to making all along ("For 10 years, this album has been in my brain, and it's just been there, sat with me, needing to be out"). So here is his first single, Pillowtalk, and - fundamentally - is it any good? Well, yes it is. But not in a way that we were expecting. Melodically and lyrically, it's a pretty straightforward pop song, which One Direction could easily have done on their next album - albeit with some slightly cooler production and slightly more X-rated lyrics. It's nothing like the sea change in direction he's been talking about though: it's commercial and - clearly - he still wants to be big and famous like Robbie rather than go down some crazy self-expressive route. Forget that line about wanting to live like a 'normal 22-year-old', we wouldn't be surprised if he gets on the phone to Guy Chambers and lines up another Angels for single three.

For fans of: Justin Bieber, The Weeknd

In three words: Still one direction

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