Track Review: Zayn Lets Us Know the “Vibez” on New Single

As Zayn prepares his third solo studio album for release, the One Direction alumnus has dropped yet another new song from the forthcoming set. Titled, Nobody Is Listening, the album is set to feature “Better,” which was released late last year, and his new single, “Vibez.”

Staunchly in the pop/R&B territory of his terrific debut album (Mind of Mine), “Vibez” is a slinky midtempo about sex built around thumping synths, kick drum, and a stuttering vocal loop. In content and composition, “Vibez” presents a stark contrast to “Better.” The former rests on a brooding sensuality that offsets the saccharine starry-eyed love that grounds the former. Produced by Scribz Riley (“Ring”; Free Spirit) and Rogét Chahayed (“Laugh Now Cry Later”; “Lucky Me”) and co-written with Nija Charles (“positions”; “No Guidance”), “Vibez” is heavily informed by contemporary R&B with its murky production and harmonies. Like so many songs that Nija has lent her talents to, the pre-chorus on “Vibez” is easily the best part of the song. Aside from the cheeky self-referential “mind of mine” lyric, the pre-chorus is the most rhythmically interesting part of the song because it forces Zayn to adapt to a rap-leaning cadence.

It’s been a few years now, and Zayn’s approach to singing is familiar, but still a bit frustrating. He has previously proven that he is capable of proper enunciation and diction, but on “Vibez” it sounds like he is singing with his mouth half-closed. While that stylistic choice may have added to the scintillating Summer Walker-esque feel, the approach ultimately makes the song more of a taxing listen than it needs to be. It doesn’t help some of his harmonies seem to sit slightly below the instrumental. Overall, “Vibez” is a solid single and should only further pique people’s interest in Nobody Is Listening.

Score: 68

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