August 9, 2016 11:36 AM EDT

Former One Direction star Zayn Malik is keeping his rabid fandom happy with the release of a sultry song and, now, equally moody new music video for the singer’s Snakehips collaboration, “Cruel.”

The trippy, hyper-edited video follows in the neon-tone footsteps of his previous hit single, “Pillowtalk.” But this one has a darker edge. It kicks off with a young man slammed up against a police car, sirens wailing, before the camera glides into a dark room where a despondent Zayn is reflecting on the state of the cruel outside world — and his precious romance within it.

“Cab radio screaming / noise and tears / death on the TV / and then there’s you,” he sings softly to the low-key pop beat of DJ duo Snakehips. It quickly turns into a danceable, slick club tune as the video drifts on, one long and hypnotizing tracking shot through an endless labyrinth of grimy discos. Zayn’s brooding face and slick leather jacket keeps appearing on haphazardly-stacked TV screens, leading us forward while zombie-like partiers populate some of the scenes with choreography to the electro beat. But it’s Zayn and his entreaties we’re here for.

“In all this bitterness, you stay so sweet,” he tells us (and, probably, his girlfriend and model Gigi Hadid). Zayn, we’re trying.

Write to Raisa Bruner at

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