Awkward. Only one week after it was announced that Zayn Malik quit One Direction in order to return to being a "normal 22-year-old," the former boy band singer already has solo music out there in the world. Prior to his decision to leave the band, Malik and Naughty Boy collaborated on a song, one that Directioners were looking forward to with a level of anticipation that was almost surprising from the notoriously protective fan base. Well, the song debuted to mix feelings on Monday night — sort of. You see, Naughty Boy released Malik's first solo song on Twitter... right after getting into an argument over the social media site with One Direction's Louis Tomlinson. Let's just say the fight ended in Directioners trending #SuspendNaughtyBoy worldwide, to give you an idea of what you're in for.
The trouble all started when Naughty Boy retweeted out a video clip advertising his collaboration with Malik — you know, less than a week after Malik decided to quit 1D and in the midst of the fans still being awash in a wave of turmoil over the decision. Tomlinson came for Naughty Boy in a pretty epic way, calling him out on trying to "wind the fans up" and on being "inconsiderate." After defending himself verbally, Naughty Boy closed off the argument by dropping a clip from the song.
So... yeah, I can't honestly say that I blame Directioners from being unable to properly appreciate the song on its own merits when, no doubt, they were watching the argument that took place before the snippet release closely. However, despite my agreement that the way in which the song debuted was incredibly inconsiderate, I have to admit that it's actually very good. "We are who we are when no one's watching," is sung in echo over a simple, sultry guitar beat. "And right from the start, you know I got you."
It's haunting, it's vulnerable, and it's very, very different from anything that One Direction has done to this point. (Even though, at points, it sounds like the voice is trying to harmonize with itself in the absence of, say, four other voices on the track...) It's a good song, but it debuts with such a bad taste in the mouths of the fans that it really just seems uncalled for. I'm not even going to touch the fact that Malik is referred to as "Zayn Naughty" or "Zaughty" on this. I just won't. I'd have to stop laughing first, and that's not going to happen.
It still remains a debatable truth that the Directioners would have been happy to support Malik's solo career, just like the other members of the band would have, if he had simply been honest about his intentions from the get-go. Between the original official statement that seems increasingly untruthful, and Naughty Boy dropping this song snippet after getting into an argument with Malik's former band members, any solo career that Malik might be pursuing is off to a bad start. The music is still good, though. At least there's that.
Check out the song below.