Nobody hits a ballad high note quite like Zayn Malik.
After a string of low-key, R&B-leaning singles, Zayn has released a proper pop heartbreaker from his upcoming album Icarus Falls. “Good Years” shows off Zayn’s impressive falsetto. Over a spare piano melody and synths, Zayn sings about a relationship gone to ruin: “Too much drugs and alcohol / What the hell were we fighting for? / ‘Cause now the whole damn world will know / That we’re too numb and just too dumb to change the story.”
Zayn’s songwriting leans toward being esoteric, like he’s sorting through his thoughts and singing through a cloud, but “Good Years” is full of remarkable, heartbreaking clarity. You can easily fill in the blanks with any one of Zayn’s tabloid-fodder “feuds,” or with your own experiences. Everyone has that one friend that they would reach out to, if only they weren’t so afraid of confronting all the ghosts of arguments that separate them. Zayn nails it here: “Now we’re so high among the stars without a worry / And neither one, one of us wants to say we’re sorry.”
Icarus Falls is due out on RCA next Friday. Pre-order the album here, and listen to “Good Years” above.