‘Dawn FM’: The Weeknd has done it again



By Avaani Julka, Reporter

On Jan. 7, 2022, The Weeknd released his fifth studio album, “Dawn FM.” Fans were elated when the news about the album spread and with good reason. The Weeknd has consistently put out electric, 70s/80s inspired music, leaving listeners in awe of his talents, from singing to the physical production of his songs, including layering, sampling and features. The Weeknd has always managed to create works that have amazing beats while also maintaining lyricism and sophistication.

“Dawn FM,” while similar to his other albums, has a relatively newer angle, even for The Weeknd to tackle. The first example of this is through the cover art that depicts The Weeknd as an elderly man, which was done to emphasize the theme behind the concept album itself — the journey between life and death.

 The narration of the album itself was performed by none other than Jim Carrey. I was fully taken aback when the first track (“Dawn FM) was coming to a close, and a very familiar voice began eerily describing that [I had] been in the dark for way too long // and it was time to //walk into the light and accept [my] fate with open arms//. This allows for a transition to the rest of the album — a journey between life and death, with something yet to be discovered waiting under the surface. Titles such as “Out of Time” (track 7), “Every Angel is Terrifying” (track 12) and “Phantom Regret by Jim” (track 16), move this concept forward. 

“Gasoline,” the second track of the album, is one of the most intriguing songs production wise. It features much of The Weeknd’s signature taste and style, with electric beats, vocal distortion and an inescapable catchiness. This creates a futuristic ambiance surrounding the song, which is incredibly well done, especially as the song progresses. The elements of his production mastery are certainly displayed through his harmonies and creative layering. 

“How Do I Make You Love Me?” is one of my favorite songs on the album as a whole. The lyricism during the verses was some of the more creative writing present within this album. Not to mention the recurring retro feel with the synth and kick drum, which is a Weeknd signature. This song was incredibly catchy and its many components allowed for one to hear something new each listen. 

“Dawn FM” also presents listeners with two collaborations, one with Lil Wayne and another by Tyler, the Creator. As a Tyler fan, I may have been biased in my reasoning, as I felt that I enjoyed the Tyler collaboration more than that of Lil Wayne. The collaboration, titled “Here We Go…Again,” is less of a blend between the two artists’ styles and more so a taste of what Tyler can offer, rather than a full  incorporation of his style. The Weeknd’s falsetto and harmonies contrasted (but didn’t clash with) Tyler’s rap style. Tyler’s portion was brief, and I would have enjoyed hearing more from him; however, I feel that this song’s style utilized the rap portion when necessary following the chorus. 

“Is There Someone Else?” was my favorite song on the album. I felt that it was the most true to his style and more catchy/upbeat in comparison to the rest of the album. However, The Weeknd did not sacrifice the theme of the album for the sake of an upbeat song. The Weeknd tends to pair sad or depressing lyrics with largely upbeat feeling songs, and while this song was upbeat, I also felt it had an R&B feel to it with the drums and vocals.

The album as a whole was eerie, provocative and highly open to interpretation. It featured some of the Weeknd’s beloved signature stylistic choices, with an eclectic mix of  sampling and experimentation.