After months of teasing “the dawn is coming” The Weeknd dawned in the new year with the release of his fifth studio album, Dawn FM. Dawn FM is the follow-up to The Weeknd’s 2020 album After Hours, which featured the hit song “Blinding Lights”. In May of 2021 during an interview with Variety Magazine, The Weeknd highlighted the connection between the two albums. “If the last record is the After Hours of the night, then the Dawn is coming”. Thus retiring the After Hours red suit persona and commencing the beginning of the Dawn.
On January 2nd, 2022, The Weekend sent out a cryptic tweet telling fans to “wake up at dawn tomorrow” followed by the release of a trailer for the album the next day promising a “new sonic universe from the mind of The Weeknd”. Lastly came the album cover reveal of The Weeknd aged by prosthetic makeup. Amongst the features on the tracklist were Tyler, the Creator, and Jim Carrey.
Welcome to Dawn FM
The Dawn FM era began on August 5, 2021, with the release of the album’s lead single “Take My Breath”. “Take My Breath”, is an 80’s disco synth version of “Blinding Lights”. The track initiated the Dawn and set the tone for what fans should expect from this new era.
In an interview with Billboard last fall, The Weeknd explained the albums’ conceptual theme. “A celebratory or bleak purgatory state, with a radio host guiding you to the light and helping you transition to the other side”. Dawn FM is arranged like a radio playlist with Jim Carrey as the host, guiding listeners. In the opening title track “Dawn FM”, Carrey encourages listeners to relax and accept their fate. In the final track “Phantom Regret by Jim”, a spoken poem by Carrey finalizes the album’s theme of self-reflection.
Dawn FM is 80’s Nostalgia
Influenced by 80’s synth-pop and mixed with The Weeknd’s R&B style, Dawn FM has garnered mixed reviews online. While critiques applaud The Weeknd for his 80’s musical influence, others disagree saying the album sounds repetitive due to production style. In a viral tweet from Twitter user @sgyndilf, they highlight the similarities in production between the songs “Gasoline”, “How Do I Make You Love Me?”, “Take My Breath”, and “Sacrifice”.
The second half of Dawn FM transitions to mid-tempo R&B tracks with a disco influence. Starting with “Out of Time” an R&B boogie ballad that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Followed by The Weeknd and Tyler The Creator’s first-ever collaboration “Here We Go..Again”, which mimics 80’s love song harmonies with a modern-day R&B influence. The electric disco beat in “Is There Someone Else?” seamlessly transitions into the R&B ballad “Starry Eyes”. Finally, the groovy synth melody on “Less Than Zero”, Dawn FM is The Weeknd’s interpretation of 80’s R&B and pop.
What are your thoughts on Dawn FM? What is your favorite song? Let us know in the comments.