Tuesday, 18 November 2014

What The Hell Happened To Zayn Malik?

I’ve never been much of a fan of One Direction being, ya’know, over the age of 14, as well as always slightly resenting the fact that these pretty boys and their mediocre music would clean up at award ceremonies, in favour of actually critically acclaimed artists, due to popular vote courtesy of their obsessive teen-girl fanbase.

As the saying goes don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

In fairness to the band, they always come across as nice, down-to-earth lads in interviews, who treat their fans well. It must be hard to take their ridiculously loyal and obsessed fans seriously (it’s actually hilarious when you see some of their protective fans’ comments online)…though I guess not so hard if collectively, these fans are making you a millionaire.

But at least they used to look pretty smart/swagged out.

One Direction: the skinniest legs in show business
CC image courtesy of El Hormiguero on Flickr
Now, as their music transitions from manufactured pop to something that resembles soft rock, their look has also altered as the boys seem to be fashioning a more edgy/grunge look these days (i.e looking like they haven’t showered/changed their clothes for a while).

Naturally, a person’s style changes and evolves as they get older. It’s quite a drastic makeover though, looking the most extreme on artsy tortured soul Zayn Malik... leading to the following concerned comments on cyberspace:

"The money and fame is destroying them. They look completely washed up and disillusioned. Zayn looks like he should be in rehab."

"Zayn's starting to look like Aladdin - A drugged & unhealthy version."

CC image courtesy of Javierosh on Flickr

The band are everywhere at the moment promoting their latest album, so you can’t help but notice a certain member of the band missing, whilst the rest fulfil their promotional duties.

Since a video has done the rounds on the internet of two of the band’s members smoking a joint (not exactly shocking but anyway), making several references to drugs and generally acting high, combined with this new "junkie" look, many spectators have deduced that Zayn’s frequent absence is a result of dabbling in drug use. It probably doesn’t help that the band’s PR team/other members give an explanation of a "tummy bug" in Zayn’s absence – let’s be honest now, who hasn't used that bullsh*t excuse when pulling a sickie at work? *winky face*

To be honest, if the dude is ill/strung out on drugs, it’s no-one’s business but his. But it’s funny seeing media personnel doing a PR cover job, like the general public were born yesterday.

Personally, I think the entire band look shattered and in need of a holiday. But Zayn in particular is exhibiting the withdrawn and reclusive behaviour of someone who’s depressed. Even when the kid was sporting a more clean-cut look, he always looked/acted shy and disinterested in interviews.

I watched the 1D: This Is Us documentary (before you judge me, I’ve always been a fan of music fly-on-the-wall documentaries, since the MTV Diary of… days. Yes, I even watched Katy Perry: Part of Me), and while the rest of the band’s members have a supportive, encouraging family behind them, there were very few moments that showed Zayn’s family in a similar capacity. The one scene that did, his father was noticeably absent, with Malik looking despondently out of the window waiting for an emotional phone call from his mum, thanking him for the house he had just purchased for her.

Stuff like this hints at family discord. It wouldn’t be surprising, since Zayn’s been brought up in a Pakistani Muslim household. I can imagine how hard it is to reconcile a rock star lifestyle with Muslim attitudes of the family, especially if you’re in the music industry which is considered "haram". It’s ok to indulge in this type of stuff when you’re younger, but as you get older the pressure is on to follow the religion more stringently.

Add to that, the kid is riddled with tattoos, has an English fiancé and seems to be interested in the arts…it would be understandable if he struggles with a culture clash and negative criticism/rejection from his family or community.

I don’t think people really know or understand what life is like in these communities, unless you’re from an ethnic working class background. I’ve seen several mixed-race families, generally women who have converted to Islam to be with a Muslim guy, and one culture tends to dominate which leaves the kids confused, especially as they go through adolescence. It often leaves many adults emotionally damaged, trying to make sense of two conflicting cultures. Hypocritical or narrow-minded attitudes, that many people who follow the faith possess, don’t help.

When you factor in a kid who’s reached astronomical fame and subsequently dealing with intense media exposure, it would add to anyone’s neurosis. So it's hardly surprising if he’s struggling with fame.

In other news, their new album is actually sounding pretty good: some decent moody melodies on there, which suit their vocals perfectly and showcases some raw talent.

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