The Weeknd’s Newest Album “Dawn FM” Pushes Into the Future: a Review

Image Credit Mekenzie Brock

The Weeknd’s fifth studio album Dawn FM was released on January 7th while the vinyl pressing was just released at the end of April. Having a chance to sit down and listen to the 2LP track by track gave insight into the new futuristic world The Weeknd creates in this album. It brings to life a new listening experience, one that is wholly immersive, and it all starts from the synth sounds and groovy beats that replicate core sounds from the 80s. Even a review from Rolling Stone says that the album “is the highest level of universe-creation we’ve seen from the Weeknd to date.”

When starting the first track, “Dawn FM,” listeners are introduced to the narrator of the imaginary radio show. He takes the moment to give the intro to 103.5 Dawn FM, the world where all the music magic comes alive. The narrative of this album follows its own internal plotline from track to track while also reminding us that the listeners are part of the radio show. 

Another unique aspect of the album is the stylistic choice to present an aged Weeknd. Following his album After Hours, The Weeknd brings to light a new aspect of character journey and development. 

Throughout the setlist of Dawn FM, he uses a blend of synths, hi-hat hits, and deeper bass hits to put the listener in the moment, to make the moment felt with one’s chest. And, it would be no surprise if The Weeknd took inspiration from Daft Punk for this newest album. In the past, the Weeknd has worked with the duo robot pair on top hit songs “Starboy” and “I Feel it Coming.” The European artists quite known for their synth work seem to have an essence of their style preserved in this fifth album.

However, on this setlist, The Weeknd features other top artists: Quincy Jones, Lil Wayne, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Tyler the Creator. Another highlight character on the album is well-known comedian Jim Carrey, the narrator of the radio station. An article from the Nylon has a short interview with The Weeknd on how the famous actor came to be involved in this newest album. The last track “Phantom Regret by Jim” even spotlights the actor’s narrative importance in this album.

Overall, The Weeknd does not disappoint with the Dawn FM installment. The album moves through stages of club-like tracks to slow-paced hits. It makes people want to move their bodies, to find release, and each track has a gravitational pull to it that forces listeners into this otherworld. And, hidden in the intro of “Every Angel is Terrifying” there’s a parallel harmony to the Netflix series Stranger Things, which only heightens the allure of sci-fi. Last, The Weeknd continues to push the boundaries of story and music in this album since listeners have to deduce the truth of what the character has endured, and one could follow Jim’s last lingering words: “You gotta unwind your mind. Train your soul to align. And dance ’til you find that divine boogaloo.”

The album setlist is: 

  1. Dawn FM
  2. Gasoline
  3. How Do I Make You Love Me
  4. Take My Breath
  5. Sacrifice
  6. A Tale By Quincy
  7. Out Of Time
  8. Here We Go… Again
  9. Best Friends
  10. Is There Someone Else?
  11. Starry Eyes
  12. Every Angel Is Terrifying
  13. Don’t Break My Heart
  14. I Heard You’re Married
  15. Less Than Zero
  16. Phantom Regret By Jim

For a more advanced immersive experience, listen and watch the tracks from the official video soundtrack on YouTube. You can also find the album on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

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