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Icarus Falls is the second studio album by singer-songwriter, Zayn Malik, which was released through RCA Records on December 14, 2018.[1] 

The lead single, "Dusk Till Dawn", featuring Australian singer-songwriter Sia, was released on September 7, 2017. This song was ultimately omitted on the standard track listing except was included as Track 14 on the Japanese edition.

The album was preceded by the release of six singles: "Let Me", "Entertainer", "Sour Diesel", "Too Much", featuring Timbaland, "Fingers" and "No Candle No Light", featuring Nicki Minaj.

The album's supposedly lead single, "Still Got Time", features Canadian singer and rapper PartyNextDoor and was released on March 24, 2017.

Background

In August, Zayn discussed how growing as a songwriter has affected his upcoming sophomore album: “I feel like my songwriting definitely developed,” he said in an interview with VMAN magazine, “just because I’ve been doing it so much. I feel like the songs are a bit more organized, where I felt like, before, that Mind of Mine was a brainstorm. That’s why I called it Mind of Mine, because it was ideas that I had that I put out. This one is more thought out. I had more time to process everything and go through it all. It’s an evolution.”

In May, the former One Direction member debuted "Entertainer" on Zane Lowe’s World Record show on Beats 1 on Apple Music, where he hinted at details about his new album and performances.

“It’s all very under wraps at the minute. I’m trying to keep it as mysterious as possible, but there’s a plan with the roll out,” Zayn said in the interview. “It’s going to be different than anything anyone has done before. It’s going to be interesting to see how the audience reacts to this kind of release. I wanted to try something different, I think it’s all going to make sense in the end when the album finally drops.”[2]

He added that the album is finished and titled, and he is currently in rehearsals getting a show together. “I wanted this show to be something that people really go away from and go you know ‘That was a magnificent piece of artistry as a whole thing.’ Not just come and be like ‘Oh yeah, that was a great set of you know six, maybe seven, good songs.’ I want to get to have a real body of music behind it so it gives a real shock to the people so I’m excited for that this time.”[3]

In the interview, the singer touched on his time releasing music with the band, saying, “a second album I think is always nerves around that the only reason I have experience and knowledge of that is because I was a band for a very long time and I learned a lot of things. I get to use those experiences as a point of reference for the things that are going on now.”[4]

He promised, “It’s going to reach people a bit differently and hopefully solidify the fact that yeah, I am a solo artist. I mean business.”

The album's release was confirmed on November 30, 2018.

Composition

Icarus Falls is a concept album inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus, the man who flew too close to the sun.[5]

Singles

  • Let Me
    The album's lead single, "Let Me" was released on April 12, 2018[6] and peaked at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart.[7] Lyrically, the song is about taking care of a partner for the rest of their lives. Zayn was asked who the song was about during an interview with Nick Grimshaw on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show, but refused to detail who, saying: "It's not always the wisest thing to do, it just complicates things so I have tended not to do that anymore, I just keep it to myself."[8] The song's music video stars Cuban-American actor Steven Bauer as a kingpin who attempts to keep Zayn, as Roko, under his control. 
  • Entertainer single cover
    "Entertainer" was released as the album's second single on May 23, 2018 and peaked at number 95 in the UK.[7] Zayn teased the song the day before its official release with a cryptic teaser from the video uploaded on his Twitter account. Malik debuted "Entertainer" on Zane Lowe’s World Record show on Beats 1 on Apple Music, where he hinted at details about the album and performances. The song's music video is set in a gentleman’s club, the visual show Zayn falling for a dancer who tantalizes him in and out of the club, but is ultimately out of his reach. The music video served as a prequel to the storyline set in the music video for "Let Me". 
  • Zayn-sour-diesel
    "Sour Diesel" was released as the album's third single on July 18, 2018. Lyrically, the song involves Zayn comparing a woman to the marijuana strand, sour diesel. Zayn first teased the song on May 22, 2018, by posting a black and white video on Instagram wearing a mask similar to the one in the cover art with the music playing lightly in the background. A day before the official release, Zayn posted a 30-second teaser of the music video on Twitter. He also announced that the video would be released at 12:00 PM on Apple Music.[9][10] A day later, the song was released to all major platform and streaming services. The music video was released on July 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM exclusively on Apple Music. 

Track-list

The official tracklist was confirmed days before the official release of the album. The album consists of 27 songs from the artist. Most versions of the album contain 27 tracks, excluding "Dusk Till Dawn" and "Still Got Time". However these tracks are included on the Japanese version of the album.

Disc 1
# Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Let Me" Zayn Malik, Khaled Rohaim, Michael Hannides, Anthony Hannides, Alan Sampson Rohaim, MakeYouKnowLove, Sampson 3:05
2. "Natural" Malik, Rohaim, M. Hannides, A. Hannides, Antonio "Dopamine" Zito Rohaim, MakeYouKnowLove, Sampson 3:13
3. "Back to Life" Malik, Alexander Oriet, David Phelan, Maxwell McElligott Saltwives 3:15
4. "Common" Malik, Rohaim, M. Hannides, A. Hannides, Herbert St. Clair Crichlow, Ava Stokes Rohaim, MakeYouKnowLove 3:52
5. "Imprint" Malik, Oriet, Phelan Saltwives 3:10
6. "Stand Still" Malik, James Ryan Ho, Bach Nguyen-Tran Malay, FrancisGotHeat 3:18
7. "Tonight" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, Brandon Colbein, Katheryn Ostenberg, Jayson Warner Saltwives 3:40
8. "Flight of the Stars" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, James Norton Saltwives 3:20
9. "If I Got You" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, Norton Saltwives 3:19
10. "Talk to Me" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, James Newman, Fredrick Wexler Saltwives 3:00
11. "There You Are" Malik, Levi Lennox, M. Hannides, A. Hannides, Joseph Garrett Lennox, MakeYouKnowLove, Dan Grech-Marguerat 3:19
12. "I Don't Mind" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, Warner Saltwives 3:25
13. "Icarus Interlude" Malik, Matthew Kirkwood Kirkwood 4:01
Disc 2
# Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
14. "Good Guy" Malik, Henrique Andrade, Alexandre Bursztyn, Salvadore "Sonny" Bono Andrade, Bursztyn 2:34
15. "You Wish You Knew" Malik, Oriet, Phelan Saltwives 3:25
16. "Sour Diesel" Malik, Ho, Robert Cavallo Cavallo, Malay 4:03
17. "Satisfaction" Malik, Ho Malay 3:28
18. "Scripted" Malik, Ho Malay 3:41
19. "Entertainer" Malik, Andrade, Bursztyn, Iliana Nedialkova Andrade, Bursztyn 3:24
20. "All That" Malik, Oriet, Phelan Saltwives 3:10
21. "Good Years" Malik, M. Hannides, A. Hannides, Rohaim, Crichlow Rohaim, MYKL 3:00
22. "Fresh Air" Malik, M. Hannides, A. Hannides, Emanuel Kiriakou, Clarence Coffee Jr., Jessica Ashley Karpov Kiriakou, MYKL 2:48
23. "Rainberry" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, Norton Saltwives 2:51
24. "Insomnia" Malik, Oriet, Phelan, Samuel Dew Saltwives 2:55
25. "No Candle No Light"
(featuring Nicki Minaj)
Malik, Onika Maraj, Tushar Apte, Thomas John Routon, Brian D Lee, Denisia "Blu June" Andrews, Brittany "Chi" Coney, Ostenberg Apte, Sawyr, Brian Lee 3:13
26. "Fingers" Malik, Oriet, Phelan Saltwives 2:53
27. "Too Much"
(featuring Timbaland)
Malik, Timothy Mosley, Angel Lopez, Federico Vindver Timbaland, Vindver, Lopez 3:06

Reception

The album holds an aggregate score of 70 out of 100 on Metacritic based on nine reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

In a positive review, Helen Brown of The Independent stated that with "his maturing soulful falsetto, melismatic yearnings that check his heritage, and muzzy, midnight mutterings", listeners "following the shining thread of Malik's voice will be led through winding passages of hope, dope, seduction and evasion."[12]

Madison Spira of Who gave the album a positive review, stating that it is "different to anything we've seen from Zayn before, and that's what makes this album so beautiful" and there "are so many songs I'm convinced most people will relate to on a personal level."[13] Dhruva Balram of NME called it a "27-track mosaic to be poured over time and again" where Zayn "really strikes upon his potential."[14] Rea McNamara of Now gave it a "great" rating of 4 out of 5, praising how "Zayn grapples with toxic masculinity" and how it "reminds us that sometimes life's lows help us appreciate love's highs".[15] Malvika Padin of Clash gave it a favourable review, calling it a "relentlessly creative" album that "begins the journey to realising his full potential".[16]

Neil Yeung of AllMusic stated that, with "his gorgeous voice and a batch of irresistibly seductive gems, he approaches greatness" but criticised the length, concluding that it "deserves some attention if there's time and patience to spare."[17] Maura Johnston of Pitchfork gave it a favourable review, stating that, while long, it as a fine "high-concept pop album" that "hinges on the idea of excess and its trickery" while referring to Zayn as "a skillful interpreter of pop" and "one of teen idoldom's most enigmatic artists." Tara Joshi of The Observer gave it a favourable review, stating that, despite "the intimidating length", there is "plenty here to appreciate" such as vocals "pouring forth a gorgeous falsetto" and often channelling "melismatic Bollywood/qawwali-style singing", a "glossy production," and "a variety of styles", concluding that "Malik is defying expectations, remaining in ascent."[18] Conversely, Consequence of Sound's Wren Graves praised some of the songs and Zayn's vocals but criticised the album as a long "half-baked concept album" that is "repetitive and dull,"[19] while Pryor Stroud of Slant Magazine deemed it "bloated" and "forgettable, albeit expertly produced".[20]

Chart Performance

Chart (2018–19) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA) 60
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) 98
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) 170
Canadian Albums (Billboard) 24
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) 53
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) 26
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100) 40
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 31
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 63
Irish Albums (IRMA) 97
Japanese Albums (Oricon) 145
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 31
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) 35
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 30
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) 81
UK Albums (OCC) 77
US Billboard 200 61

References

  1. Zayn's Sophomore Album Gets a Title and Release Date
  2. zayn says new album is '90% done', is working with timbaland
  3. Zayn New Album: Title, Release Date, Tracklist And Everything We Know So Far
  4. Zayn Says He’s Happy, Don’t Worry
  5. Zayn Icarus Falls, Pitchfork
  6. Let Me by Zayn
  7. 7.0 7.1 Zayn - full chart history
  8. Zayn Malik's "Let Me" Music Video Is an Action-Packed Thriller With a Surprise Twist
  9. Zayn Shares Intense New Teaser for 'Sour Diesel': Watch
  10. Teaser on IG
  11. Icarus Falls by ZAYN, Metacritic Reviews
  12. Icarus Falls: After slaying the 1D minotaur, the solo artist wanders around a labyrinth of murky R&B sounds
  13. REVIEW: Zayn Malik's 'Icarus Falls' album
  14. Zayn Malik – ‘Icarus Falls’ review, NME
  15. Review: Zayn grapples with toxic masculinity on Icarus Falls
  16. ZAYN - Icarus Falls, Clash
  17. AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung 
  18. Zayn: Icarus Falls review – defies expectations
  19. Zayn Bores with Half-Baked Concept Album Icarus Falls
  20. Review: Zayn, Icarus Falls
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