Tune Into Dawn FM

The Weeknd turns a new leaf by releasing his 5th studio album, “Dawn FM,” on January 7, 2022

Tune Into Dawn FM

Singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye, known creatively as The Weeknd, first came into the spotlight in 2015 as a pop artist. Tracks off his album, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” became featured in movies such as Fifty Shades of Grey. The release of his 2016 album “Starboy” catapulted him to the top of the charts and gained him recognition in the pop genre. The artist stayed on top of the charts with his smash hit song in 2020, “Blinding Lights.” Last year, at the 55th annual Super Bowl, the Weeknd performed top songs from his R&B album “After Hours” as well as past works.

Although one could say releasing such upbeat dance music right before a global pandemic was bad luck, that didn’t slow the Weeknd’s momentum down. Even though the stands weren’t as full during last year’s Super Bowl, the Weeknd still managed to make America dance during his performance–even if just from their living rooms.

To kick off 2022, the singer dropped a brand new album consisting of 16 tracks (with 19 in the deluxe version). The album cover has an elderly depiction of the artist, most likely to fit its theme of the future and acceptance.

As a fan of The Weeknd’s throughout the years, I was excited to hear about the new release. “After Hours” lived up to my expectations, but I was eager to see him come up with something different; “Dawn FM” is certainly different.

The album begins with an out-of-world title track featuring dream-like narration from Jim Carrey. This sets up the vision and storyline for the rest of the album well with its descriptions of “Dawn FM” as a radio station that can help you “walk into the light.” The track seems to play with the concepts of dimensions and spiritualism.
The first real song featured on the album, “Gasoline,” uses cool instrumentals and a catchy chorus to engage fans. I enjoyed it because it feels like it teleports you to a dance party in the middle of the night. It sounds upbeat and thrilling, though it has some dark lyrics about death and substance abuse.

The next two tracks, entitled “How Do I Make You Love Me?” and “Take my Breath,” are solid songs. “Take My Breath” was a fresh listen and made me forget it was almost 6 minutes long.

Following it was a monologue entitled “A Tale by Quincy,” featuring Quincy James. He details how traumatic events throughout his childhood affected his future relationships. I thought this story was a strong addition to the album because it showed how holding on to the past can hurt your future. Letting go of negative attachments seemed to be a major theme of the album.

The seventh song on the album, “Sacrifice,” has soared in popularity and has a music video already over 20 million views. Sacrifice was extremely catchy and well-produced; however, I didn’t feel it was the Weeknd’s best work, as there were other standouts on the album that I would look forward to seeing a video for.

One was “Here We Go… Again”, which features Tyler, The Creator. I found its instrumentals to be very beautiful as well as haunting. The track that follows it, “Best Friends,” surprised me with how enjoyable it was. Just from the title, I didn’t expect much more than a filler track but ended up liking it. The transition at the end of it into the following song, “Is There Someone Else?” was especially memorable to me.

Overall, the album was cohesive while still having standout tracks. However, some fell short for me–such as “Out of Time” and “I Heard You’re Married.” “Out of Time” didn’t seem to have much personality, while the latter seemed repetitive and lifeless.

The final track on the album that could actually be called a song was entitled “Less Than Zero.” It became one of my favorites due to its unique background chords and light sound.

Dawn FM’s last component was another spoken-word piece, “Phantom Regrets by Jim.” Carrey recites a near 3-minute poem about life and heaven, more specifically how one can make their own heaven. The words are deep and meaningful yet delivered clearly. The Weeknd’s vocals in the background were beautiful and added so much dimension. I thought it to be extremely impactful and thought it summed up all of the stories told by the other songs well.