Is Liam Payne Dissing Zayn Malik? One Direction Singer Says New Album Is His ‘Favorite’

Zayn Malik may be moving on in his music career after departing from pop group One Direction in March; however, Malik’s former bandmate, Liam Payne, is proving to fans that the group will continue to make great music despite losing their fifth member earlier this year.

While the remaining members of One Direction insist that they’re still close friends with Malik despite the singer’s abrupt departure from the group mid-tour, it appears Payne is throwing a little shade at Malik by implying that their newest album will be their best one to date, Hollywood Life reports.

During an interview for their new fragrance, Between Us, remaining members Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne were all asked about the progress on their upcoming album.

Payne responded to the question by insisting that their newest work is far better than anything they’ve worked on in the past, leaving some fans to interpret his statement as a diss towards Malik for abandoning the group.

“It’s just pure greatness. I don’t mean to sound arrogant when I say that, but it’s just my favorite stuff we’ve ever done. I was listening to it with Sophia this morning, actually. One of our songs has a different girl’s name in the title, but it’s fine—she didn’t take any offense. We’re just ready to go with it. It’s going to be ace, I promise you that.”

Payne’s subtle dig at Malik comes just hours after the 1D fandom freaked out over allegations that suggested Malik was having his matching tattoo with Tomlinson removed, Yahoo! UK reports.

A recent photo of Malik’s “BUS 1” tattoo appears to be significantly faded, leaving fans to believe that Malik was having the ink removed after Tomlinson got involved in a heated Twitter battle with Malik’s mentor and producer, Naughty Boy.

However, Malik dispelled the rumors when he retweeted a fan’s post that read, “Maybe he didn’t get it retouched and it’s fading?,” suggesting that Malik has simply neglected to keep up with the tattoo and hasn’t had time to get it touched up.

As for how the other members of One Direction feel about the direction of their new album, Horan dished that “It’s very different…It’s a lot more rocky,” to which Styles added, “We feel very lucky to have been able to do it and have fun doing it. The fact that we’re able to do our fifth album is really great, we’re really excited about people hearing it. We think it’s our best.”

While Liam Payne and Harry Styles seem to think their upcoming album will be their best, do you think One Direction will have the same success without Zayn Malik?

[Image Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt]