What do we know about Zayn Malik now, almost two years into his career as a solo artist? He wants to be cool and project sex (this, in opposition to the inherent sanitization of One Direction, was made very clear from the jump). He is quiet, brooding, and mysterious—an archetype, certainly, but one that he plays quite well.
The persona is coherent and easy to buy; musically, though, it’s a bit of a different story. First single “Pillowtalk” was a loud post-dubstep banger about fucking that proved to be a lasting hit, but the album that followed was a decidedly