Zayn Malik's "Pillowtalk" Lyrics Make No Sense & He Needs To Explain These Metaphors
Against better judgement, I've actually enjoyed listening to Zayn Malik's debut single, "Pillowtalk." I know he's officially become a controversial figure after his decision to depart One Direction to pursue a solo career, but no one can deny that his new sound is catchy as hell and a total departure from his boy band roots. The fact that the music video is such a thing of beauty doesn't hurt either, especially as Gigi Hadid stars in it so much. Sure, I feel terrible for liking the new Zayn Malik song, but these things happen, OK? But, while we're discussing the former member of 1D's new music, it's definitely worth examining the lyrics of his first single in more detail. Namely, there are some lyrics in "Pillowtalk" that make no sense. Like, at all.
I don't want to disrespect Malik's musical integrity in any way, because "Pillowtalk" is a strong debut from the singer. While One Direction were never renowned for their lyrical genius — their songs are fun, and that's fine — is Gigi Hadid's rumored boyfriend the musical legend he keeps proclaiming that he is? Do the words to Malik's "Pillowtalk" have an important meaning, or is it just a catchy song without any major depth? Let's investigate.
Subtle, it is not. "Pillowtalk" is about sex, somewhat obviously. While the subject matter is clear, some of the descriptions are... unusual. Malik clearly wants to capture what having sex is like, and all of its contradictions, but this often makes for slightly weird lyrics. The first verse, for instance:
Climb on boardWe'll go slow and high tempoLight and darkHold me hard and mellow
While juxtaposition is returned to later, when Malik repeats the words "paradise" and "war zone" over and over, as if to suggest that sex is both heaven and hell, the comparisons in this first verse just don't fit together. If you're holding someone "hard," it's unlikely that you're "mellow," and "slow" seems the exact opposite of "high tempo." I get that "Pillowtalk" is trying to make a point about the intricacies of sex, but, when you really think over the lyrics (and I mean really think about it), it's tough to get a clear picture of what's actually going on.
While the bridge of the song doesn't throw up many confusing images, the chorus gets a little... intense.
So we'll piss off the neighboursIn the place that feels the tears
So, OK, "the place that feels the tears," which the neighbours can obviously hear, has got to be the bedroom. But what a weird image. Why is someone crying when they're having sex? Unless he doesn't mean those sorts of tears? Oh, please no, let's move on.
Be in the bed all day, bed all day, bed all dayF*cking you, and fighting onIt's our paradise and it's our war zone
Wait, what? Being in bed with this person is like "fighting on?" Why is the situation so difficult and comparable to a never-ending battle? An impossible struggle? This is surely not how any person wants to be referred to in the bedroom. While it could certainly be referring to a troublesome relationship, which is both good and bad in equal measure, some of the imagery in "Pillowtalk" is worrying and confusing. It's time to leave the bedroom, son.
Pillow talkMy enemy, my allyPrisonersThen we're free, it's a thriller
Much like a David Lynch film, I started off this stanza feeling as though I knew what Zayn Malik was talking about. Pillow talk, after all, can be great and it can be awful. You might hear some things you shouldn't, like juicy gossip that makes your day, or get some important info that helps you out. But why are the pair then prisoners, who are then free, and why is it a thriller? I need to know. Is this a Michael Jackson reference, or am I hoping for too much here?
I guess it should be enough for listeners to know that the song is about a relationship getting physical, but, as lyrics go, some of the images are a little concerning and confusing. But hey, it's a pop song. I'm definitely reading too much into it, aren't I? I'm sure Zayn Malik knows what he's on about, and that's the main thing, right?
Images: Giphy (3)