Zayn Malik releases fourth solo project “Room Under The Stairs” – Album Review

Written by on June 4, 2024

Review by Gurleen Kaur – 


Singer/songwriter Zayn Malik released his fourth studio album “Room Under the Stairs” on May 17, 2024. This release contains fifteen songs in total and was released under Mercury and Republic Records. The production was done by Malik, most commonly known simply as Zayn, alongside Dave Cobb. While this album has no defined genre, overall it can be classified as Folk R&B as Zayn himself cites Chris Stapleton & Willie Nelson as inspirations for this album. 

He informed listeners on the “Zach Sang Show” that this album was one he had been working on for the past six to seven years, so it has indeed been a work in progress project for quite some time.

The fourth song on this album “Alienated” was actually the first song Zayn wrote as the foundation of this project. He wrote about how he and his ex-wife, Gigi Hadid, broke up in a time where some issues with their relationship were shown publicly, and he felt very alone in that situation. Zayn has been residing in Philadelphia and stated that “living a normal life” has helped him gain peace and gave him space to process, turning his emotions into art and expressing it all through new music in a relatable way.

The tracklist includes the following songs in order: “Dreamin,” “What Am I,” “Grateful,” “Alienated,” “My Woman,” “How It Feels,” “Stardust,” “Gates of Hell,” “Birds on a Cloud,” “Concrete Kisses,” “False Starts,” “The Time,” “Something in the Water,” “Shoot at Will” and “Fuchsia Sea.” 

The song titles themselves portray an interesting message. For instance, most would assume birds cannot sit on a cloud, which is like saying a person cannot be with someone that does not want to be with or nor wants to support them, and lets that person fail to realize that on their own instead of communicating that with them. Another example would be concrete kisses, which sounds like admiring or appreciating something that is causing you pain as if it hurts to love that thing/individual. Another song title that draws my attention is “Fuchsia Sea,” as the word fuchsia is shrub with tubular flowers that have two contrasting colors within it, usually in the shade of pink. 

Of the whole album, there are two favorite tracks: The first being “Grateful” which is 3:19 minutes long. It begins with slow, mellow rising beats and continues where Zayn then starts singing. His voice, the lyrics, and the beat all mesh well together beautifully. This song, from my perspective, feels like it is about him being grateful for his child Khai and how happy he is to have her in his life. Khai brings joy to Zayn and Gigi, despite them not being together anymore. A child allows them to co-parent and have a reason to keep working towards their goals in life. 

The lyrics, “I see your mother’s shine in your eye / I know that you’re mine and I’m cryin’ […] Some mishaps I’ve been mournin’ but I’m grateful for it.” This essentially states that seeing Gigi in his child is bringing him joy that they brought together a version of their love, despite all that they have been through.

The second standout song is “Fuchsia Sea,” a song that is 2:27 minutes long. This one also starts off slow, then drops and hits a beat one by one musically. The song is about a relationship in which a person is going through a break-up that they want to get over and want their life to be back to normal and less black/white. However, the person is unable to let go of their past with someone yet does not see them being in their future. This is something that Zayn talks about when discussing this song in particular. As mentioned previously, a Fuchsia is a flower that Zayn wants to reach to bring color back into his life. 

The remainder of the album gives off this homey, calm, laid-back yet deep and intellectual vibe to it. It is perfect to listen to in the summer when you are relaxing or want a moment to yourself, as it can provide a calm tone with all its chill beats.

Zayn is a very humble, down-to-earth and calm individual, which makes for a beautiful energy to be around or even hear or see any art form from. These songs are indeed perfect when you are sitting under the stairs!

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