In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was rare to hear a number one pop or R&B song on the radio that wasn’t produced by Timbaland. From his work in the early years with Aaliyah and Missy Elliott, to his long list of hits with Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, Timbaland was the one-man hit machine for nearly a decade.
Now in 2018, the pop sound has changed from Timbaland’s trademark booming bass, but the producer has managed to merge his beat with the more ethereal and moody flow of former One Direction member Zayn Malik. The pair teamed up in the studio to bring the two time periods of music together to create their new single “Too Much,” a sultry and catchy slow pop track that brings out the best in both artists.
Zayn’s slowed down and melodic warble is juxtaposed with Timbaland’s clear and slightly muted chorus, giving us flashbacks of 2007’s Shock Value. Singing about a broken heart, Zayn’s latest single could be inspired by his recent break up and possible reconciliation with model Gigi Hadid, with the sombre pop track giving the heartbroken a song that will make them dance.
“Too Much” is the latest in a long string of singles from Zayn, with no album in sight. Since releasing 2016’s impressive Mind of Mine, Zayn has dropped the tracks “Let Me,” “Entertainer,” and “Sour Diesel.” In addition to Timbaland, he’s also teamed up with M.I.A., PartyNextDoor, and Sia, while also releasing covers of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Beyoncé’s “Me Myself and I.”
Maybe Timbaland, who helped Justin Timberlake find his voice after leaving NSYNC, can work his magic with Zayn and help create the former boy bander’s next solo effort.