Zayn Malik's sudden departure from One Direction is starting to look a lot less sudden. The former boy-bander wasted no time in signing to Simon Cowell's label for a solo album. The album reportedly won't be released until 2016, but Malik has already been hanging out in the recording studio with British producer Naughty Boy. We know this because Naughty Boy tweeted a SoundCloud link with a demo of Malik's first solo effort, "I Won't Mind." Guys, here's the thing: It sounds really good. The "Zayn Naughty Demo" is reminiscent of Naughty Boy's work with another big-deal Brit, Sam Smith. Instead of 1D's rah-rah choruses and cheeky lyrics, Malik lets his softer side shine through. The ballad has that stripped-down singer-songwriter thing going for it, and it's surprisingly pretty. Perrie Edwards must be pinching herself right now. Not everyone is happy about the new track, however. Naughty Boy tweeted the quote "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy," prompting an outraged response from One Direction's Louis Tomlinson.
Is Malik's sample worth all the drama? Listen below and judge for yourself.