***In the part of the song where Zayn says “I like the way HE feels” he is sampling a song called “Whatever’s Fair” by Jerry Butler.***
Always went against the grain, struggled in my life. Got some things to say when I stand up on the mic. I ain’t dropping this for fame. I need this time like therapy. It’s just to keep me sane. The truth is you’re my medicine, can’t put that on your plate. Aweee. Ouch! This is saddddd. Essentially he’s saying he knows he’s been dealing with some heavy things in his life that he has been suppressing and holding back, so he has a lot to unload (say) when it comes to his music (the mic.) It’s the only place he feels he can say them. It’s therapeutic, and this outlet helps him to maintain his sanity. He then says someone is his medicine (we know who, oh, ya know…probably the one who wrote MEDICINE.) But the trouble is, it also sounds like he doesn’t want to unload his thoughts and feelings on this person, so as not to burden them. He already sees them as his medicine, and therefore he doesn’t think it’s fair to force them to play that role, so he doesn’t want to “put it on their plate” probably because their plate is already full with their own issues.
Speeding into everything, ’bout time I fixed the brakes. Don’t say I can’t communicate, you know I conversate with you in several different ways. And I know you know its reverence, cause I’m looking at your face. Essentially Zayn is saying he needs to slow down, life is going too fast for him. He alludes to a discussion he’s had with someone who criticized his poor communication. (Who do we know always sings about Zayn not speaking and begging him to speak?) The last part Zayn is just saying he knows that the many ways he chooses to communicate with this person resonates with them, because he can tell just by looking at their face. He knows them that well.
Can’t justify mistakes, like every man that made them, seems I am the one to blame. Lying to myself, only had so much to gain, so now I’m switching up the— He’s admitting to his own fuck-ups and the fact that he may have been lying to himself in the past (sort of like the answer he gave when asked what inspired “Tightrope” how he was basically running from his truth and from his reality.) Basically confessing he might’ve been too proud to admit when he was wrong at times, and that he was so deep in denial he was deceiving even himself about certain things. That amounted to nothing in the end and he gained nothing from doing that, because reality will always reassert itself. So it’s better to own up to your shit upfront.
Confused, I can feel it all. I’m here to make a change. It’s cold at 3am outside , I’m walking with the dog, thanking God that it don’t talk at all, my mind is switching off. Love the imagery in this lyric soooo much. It’s poignant and vulnerable. THIS is the Zayn we love to see. No bravado, just realness. Him admitting to being conflicted and literally feeling too much to even make sense of it, is relatable as hell. He has never been so earnest before. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.
I feel like love wrecked it. If it’s not a drug, then why am I waiting for the next fix, affected. Oof, this sounds like he’s speaking to you know who. Basically saying that initially what they had was great (their sexual arrangement) until feelings came into play and ruined things, mainly “love.” And he’s still referring to their relationship as an addiction that he can’t go without. (Just like he did in “I Won’t Mind” and like Harry did in “Meet Me In The Hallway” ) This also ties into him calling this person his medicine above, and also ties into the lyric from “I Don’t Mind” in Icarus Falls “I don’t mind waiting, if you need some time to love again, I don’t want nothing, just a little something for the pain.” Remind you of anything? Sounds Harry begging Zayn to take his pain away in “Meet Me In The Hallway.” Begging for morphine which is pain medicine. Begging for a fix.
Can’t believe that you left this, I guess I leave with a best wish. Sounds like they ended things and Zayn decides to leave amicably rather than raising hell and fighting about it, wishing him the best (cough yeah right cough Grammy diss cough.) It reminds me a lot of the sentiment in “Outside.” Maybe they called it quits again and Harry gave up after the baby??? Since that’s the vibe we’ve all been feeling lately. That Harry seems to be moving on, which Zayn literally says in the next lyric.
Moving on like: NEXT. I’m fine for the lectures. We see it all full spectrum. He indicates they’re moving on, then seems to indicate he doesn’t want to hear anymore talking on the matter. Like, spare me the lectures, please. He says they see it all full spectrum, as in there is nothing more to be discussed or brought up, because they’ve seen it all before, or there is no point in waiting it out to see what happens in the future, because they already see they are hopeless.
Cause if I’m falling down, we can fall down together. Staircase to heaven, mirrored down the middle like 11. All together this lyric indicates that if Zayn falls, they both will fall, because they are so closely mirrored. Zayn continues to reference their shared theme of “falling” here, which he did in Icarus Falls, and which Harry adopted in Fine Line, and which Zayn later continued in multiple songs on Nobody Is Listening (like “Better” and “Tightrope” and “River Road.”) I’m not exactly sure what the staircase to heaven reference means here (btw Stairway To Heaven is a badass tune by the Led Zeppelin) it’s probably an extended metaphor to the falling mentioned earlier, as though they’re falling down FROM the staircase to heaven, away from the paradise they shared together. The mirrored down the middle like 11 is a reference to their sameness and their oneness. Their soulmateship or twin flames. They are two halves of the same whole. They are yin and yang. They deeply reflect one another, just like the number 11. Zayn seems to make reference to this earlier in the song when he says: “Standing here as one man, how can I do half when your half the person I am.” Interesting indeed.
Resentment on one side, it won’t settle. Mind fried, but talking sense. Referencing there is resentment on one side of their relationship, maybe on Harry’s end (which is perfectly understandable, fight me, idc idc) “It won’t settle” could mean it won’t resolve anything or give them closure if Harry holds on to his resentment. Then he goes on to say, he is aware his mind is fried from all the weed he smokes (oof I remember I said this in one of my more recent posts lol) but he insists he’s still talking sense. Basically insisting that regardless of the weed, he still has his wits about him and is being logical.
Need to spell it out for the dickheads. I’m made for this so witness. I know you feel afflicted, but you always love it with me, while laughing at me, they think they’re laughing with me (???). **sings “I love you”** This line is a bit confusing, and I’m certain everyone has the lyrics wrong here (including me) because a portion of this line is very distorted on the record with digital effects. However I LOVE the bits where he breaks out and sings randomly. It’s just a night and day difference from his rap voice (which is also pleasant to listen to) but he’s such a soulful and melancholic songbird. His voice is to die for. The way he suddenly sings “l love you” broke me.
I’ve grown so they don’t fit me. My body thrown from this new to this old city. It’s so gut-wrenching to hear how broken and exhausted he is. There is such a bullshit smokescreen put up by Gigi and crew, as well as by the media and the Zigi stans, and I’m just like how can you MFs not see how damaged and withdrawn and conflicted this man is? He has had many cries for help that have totally gone ignored because: Yay Zigi! Even as a Zarrie I can admit that something is wrong here. I’m not sitting around pretending he is perfect and happy, or saying that Harry can magically make him perfect and happy, or saying they are together just because I want them to be and because it would give me content. The truth is they’re not alright, they’ve always struggled with their relationship, and they are both deeply damaged by each other (and by external things they’ve experienced.) And what saddens me about some of these lyrics is that Zayn is just soooo hopelessly enigmatic he sometimes describes his feelings in very strange, almost incomprehensible terms. “My body thrown from this new to this old city.” I want so badly to understand precisely what this means, but there is almost more power in it if you can’t quite figure it out. He almost sounds like he is describing multiple lives based on some of the things he says. Shit, maybe he is an alien after all? Strange boy. Beautiful mind. He should write a fiction novel. (We can now really see Harry’s ongoing plight firsthand. Who do we know was still begging to be let inside so he could get to know his sunflower even in 2019? Who relented in the last song on Fine Line and said “spreading you open is the only way of knowing you”? Zayn is an enigma.)
I’m sick of sitting on my own, feeling so shitty. Oof, we all felt that.
I’ve been on roads where it’s so cold and the snow hitting. Felt that too. I love how this can be taken literally, like referring to those brutal New York winters, or it could all be metaphorical, and the cold roads part serves to illustrate his alienation, while the snow lyric is evoked to illustrate the severity of his loneliness (being the total opposite of the warmth of society and camaraderie.)
It’s ok to be yourself, sitting talking to myself. Oh my gosh my phucking heart. I can so picture him doing this. Poor thing. And the way he reassures himself that it’s ok to be alone is just… (—Wait, I’m supposed to hate him! What’s happening to me?? God damn it!)
I’ve been walking for the longest, just need a little rest. He’s equating life to being a long and arduous journey, which we all can relate to. Or more specifically, he’s referencing how problems and afflictions make life feel like an unending trek. This is evocative of being lost and confused (like he stated earlier.) Feeling lost means you’re aimless, and when you’re moving through life without a purpose or a clear understanding of yourself, the road can seem perpetual.
No, I ain’t the strongest, I can feel it in my chest. Ugh, I love honest Zayn. It’s incredibly endearing when a tough guy can admit to his internal fragility. That makes them more powerful in my book.
Talking about feelings, and of me they get the best. They ain’t leaving, see ‘em breathing in my breath. He knows that ridding himself of these feelings will be an impossible task, so he settles for facing them head-on and finally talking about them, even if it overpowers him. He also says somewhere in the song: “I’m at home with a pain in my soul.” So talking about his feelings is really the only way to alleviate his internal dissonance and general agitation.
Till death do us part, it’s just seated in my heart like a work of art. Oh my god this is so beautiful. It can be taken one of two ways. He could be talking about these pestering feelings being attached to him for life, since he referenced in the lyric above that “they ain’t leaving,” or he could be talking about that someone who he keeps alluding to at sporadic times throughout these songs. I think he means both, because I believe this person is the source of those feelings that seem to be immortal (undying) for Zayn. It’s all etched on his heart forever.
Never winning, I’m just scarred. Can’t begin from the start. Do I play a part in the rhythm of the night. I guess I’m on to something because the dark’s feeling right. Pretty bleak. He mentions being scarred, which we know both he and Harry both wrote about in 2015 in “If I Could Fly” and “It’s You.” He then says they can’t start over again. Then it sounds like he’s been in a low, dark place for so long he’s succumbing to the metaphorical night, or beginning to feel at home in the darkness. That’s vaguely troubling…uh…Zayn, chill, yo.
“Yellow Metal is my name” Love, love, love this! While decrying what’s going on across the world and advocating for social justice and wanting to stand up for his people in Palestine, we get his lyric. Beyond that, I love that in expressing all that he has for the past 20 minutes, he adopts the name Yellow Metal, which is essentially calling himself GOLD. Literally adopting his role in the Green & Gold unit. He also makes reference to this earlier in the song when he says “paint me gold.”
**now he’s singing**
Dreams was growing out of me, sun promising that tomorrow it will rise (sounds like a lyric from “River Road”) time playing games with my mind. I swear…pass us by. Train goes on the tracks, smoke…I tired to hide my thoughts so blinded in flames. Don’t know where we’re going, I no way of knowing, only see what’s in my head. This entire sentiment is embodied in the song “River Road” from NIL, with mentions of the sun rising (longing for a new hope) and making mention of a journey. In this lyric from “Yellow Metal,” however, he says he tried to hide his thoughts, which means he was not expressing his true feelings to anyone. Which is something we often complain about with Zayn. He often tries to conceal his truth with subterfuge and smokescreens, and even in his lyrics, he tries to make them incredibly difficult to decipher. “I prefer speaking in analogies.” which he said in “Calamity.” I think in part it’s because he often can’t figure out how to express himself when it comes to Harry of late. “Don’t know where we’re going” completely mirrors that identical line in “Sweet Creature” when they were estranged and embarking on solo careers without each other in 2016.
Can’t we wait a minute, so we can savour this, it’s on my brain again, these days. It’s on my brain again, these days. It almost sounds like he doesn’t want Harry to leave him now? He doesn’t want to give up on them just yet. He might be saying their relationship is on his mind again these days. I think this is the trouble of their relationship in general. Each time one of them wants to move on and move forward, the other one is pulling them back to the same old thing. We can’t blame them. This is how love works.
Feeling on the brink of it, whatever it is. Figure out some shit at least it feels that way. This is important, imo, because it indicates Zayn is still on the brink of making a move, although, admittedly, he is unsure of what that move is yet. He can’t define it, he just feels like he’s on the brink of something.
Talk about my feelings and I don’t feel so strange. Finding solace, that’s a promise, in Metrapolis, while being honest. Can’t write a sonnet, without some pain. I’ll end it here, because this is just beautiful. He seems to feel alleviated by sharing his feelings at last. He feels better now. He’s finding solace, which indicates it’s helping him find inner tranquility. Although he acknowledges that without all this pain he would never have been able to write any of the things he’s written, which has amounted to his career. “I make millions off of my pain.”
Ask yourself this one question: Why on earth would Zayn call himself “Yellow Metal” (Gold) if not as an acknowledgement of his relationship with Harry??