The numbers don’t lie: Zayn Malik’s solo career is a success! (Well, sales-wise anyway.) His debut album, Mind of Mind, has entered this week’s Billboard 200 chart at the top, going straight to No. 1 with a respectable 157,000 album equivalents sold. It’s thus far the highest-charting debut album of 2016, and one that’s got plenty of history attached to it. Zayn is now the first solo male artist from the U.K. to have his first album debut at No. 1 in America — bragging rights not even Macca got to have post-boy band. In fact, he’s the first British solo dude to get to No. 1 on their first album since George Michael did it in 1988, because, right now, we all very much want Zayn’s sex.
Zayn, of course, has been here before: One Direction’s first album debuted at No. 1 in 2011 — making history then, too, as the first U.K. group to have their first album debut at No. 1 in the states — a spot they debuted at for a record four consecutive albums, until Justin Bieber disrupted that run last year. (His single, “Pillowtalk,” also went straight to No. 1 earlier this year.) That Zayn was able to go No. 1 on his first try is all the more impressive when you consider that David Bowie only got his first No. 1 album this year, posthumously, while Gwen Stefani’s first solo No. 1 came just last week, 12 years after her solo debut. As Billboard notes, he now joins a rare club of artists that includes Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Stefani to have a No. 1 album with both their former group and on their own. You could say it’s Zayn’s paradise and One Direction’s war zone.