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Zayn Malik graces the cover of Clash magazine.

The pop star is hard at work on his sophomore solo album. He says this time around the focus is on the quality of sound, not the overtly sexual lyrics like Mind of Mine.

“I wouldn’t say there are overriding themes; it’s more about the music this time, I think, and more about the melodies and the singing than it is specifically about the message of the lyric of the song,” he says. “I’ve just tried to show different things on this album, and, again, it doesn’t really all cohesively fit together, even in terms of sound – it’s not like one body of work; it’s all different things and different types of music. It’s just things that inspired me, like odd times and places in that exact moment recording that feeling and getting it down.”

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“Yeah, I definitely think the reaction to the first record has fueled a bit of confidence in the second one, and helps just understanding what people wanted to hear and what people were enjoying. So yeah, it’s definitely made that easier, I guess, and just knowing where I fit in the market and where I want to sit vocally, and where I want to take it with the music and the production. It’s just more assertive and knows what it’s about this time.”

Read the full interview here and peep the grungy photoshoot up top.

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