By Meg Zulch
As an unapologetic One Direction fan, I admit I felt a teensy bit betrayed when Zayn left the band last year in pursuit of a solo career. But that didn't stop from me from frantically running around my apartment last night as I confirmed (and reconfirmed) the proper way to spell his first single, “Pillowtalk” in the iTunes search bar. “Is it one word or two words???” I screamed to my apartment mate.
The panic is over now, the dust of last night’s ecstasy settling around my sweaty tee shirt and an iTunes purchase receipt. Last night, I bought “Pillowtalk,” got hypnotized by the horribly silly video, and discovered Zayn Malik is now simply “ZAYN.”
Since then, I've essentially been on my back with this song on repeat, sexual fantasies of the man himself lighting up my brain and dreams. The song is crazy sexy, and he says “fucking” in the chorus. Wow. I never realized how much I needed to hear Zayn say “fuck.”
I was endlessly aroused by the video, despite its ridiculous “flower equals vagina” imagery and the glitter-covered naked girls fighting each other (eye rolls). However, I did kind of love watching the colors and images of the video expand and contract like a kaleidoscope, allowing Zayn to finally revel in his drugged out wonderland he's probably always dreamed of indulging in creatively. And then there's Zayn, looking hot as anything, and making out with his beautiful IRL girlfriend Gigi Hadid. The video was stupid, but I was still... overwhelmed.
"Pillowtalk" discusses the bed as a space for sexual euphoria, the expelling of fear, and tearful wars of the internal and external variety. All of these high octane emotions swirling together in your bed (let's admit, the one space you wish Zayn was in) is reflected by the kaleidoscopic imagery of the video. And the effect of the song itself isn't much different. All of this heavy passion and turbulence entraps you in desire, the same way one might feel when listening to The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness. It's dark, it's twisted, it's sad, and (first and foremost) unbelievably sexy.
Over the past 18 hours or so, I've been pondering what Zayn could have meant exactly by the bed being both a place of paradise and a place of war. He seems to be referring to two people, presumably him and his partner, leading me to believe he’s referring to arguments within the relationship, and how the bed as a shared space represents the full scope of passion and romance. As someone who almost never squabbles with their partner, especially in bed, I couldn't relate at all.
But, the more I listened to it and the more I heard lines like “the place that feels the tears” and “in the bed all day, fucking and fighting on,” it reminded me only of depression. Of how, yes, the bed is where my partner and I laugh, love, and orgasm; but it's also the place where I cry alone, and psych my body up everyday to get out of bed when my brain does everything it can to keep me trapped there in my warm blankets and tear-stained sheets. It's an intimate place of varying emotions and history, which sometimes grips you hard and holds you close when you don't have the strength to pick up your head. And I love that Zayn, the former “moody mystery boy” of 1D, is finally expressing this in his music. Maybe the other person he seems to be referring to in the song is all of us, fellow depression-sufferers. Okay, sappiness aside.
The song is sexy. The boy is sexy. The video is stupid, but it's also kind of sexy! I can only hope that the rest of the album will allow me to indulge further in Zayn’s beautiful tortured soul shtick, and hear his formally highly censored mouth say “fuck” as many times as it wants to.