The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ serves as sequel to ‘After Hours’


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On Jan. 7, the Weeknd made his anticipated comeback with the album “Dawn FM”.

After the wildly successful release of the album “After Hours” in 2020, singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, more commonly known as The Weeknd, made his highly anticipated return on Jan. 7 with the album “Dawn FM”.

The album essentially serves as a sequel to “After Hours” but the lyrics reveal a different side of the singer. The songs take more theatrical approaches, both sonically and visually through the music videos for “Take My Breath”, “Sacrifice”, and “Gasoline”. 

The album is filled with references and imagery of forthcoming death. These references are displayed on the album cover where The Weeknd aged drastically, making him appear closer to death.

“Dawn FM” is somewhat of a conceptual album that is formatted as a radio program hosted by actor Jim Carrey, who guides The Weeknd during his journey to death.The outros of all of the songs on the album seamlessly transition into the next, which makes listeners feel like they are stuck in the world The Weekend has created.

The Weeknd’s stubbornness and dedication to reinforce this concept of pending death is one of the album’s many strengths, as it makes the listening experience more immersive. Carrey’s several interludes, such as in the track “Every Angel is Terrifying” that is an advertisement backed by ’80s synths, pulls listeners into this darker, scary world.

The album kicks off with the title track “Dawn FM” with Carrey ominously saying, “We’ll be there to hold your hand and guide you through this painless transition”. Carrey’s role as the DJ for “Dawn FM” is to walk listeners into the afterlife, and they are reminded that they are out of time throughout the album.

In the second track, “Gasoline”, The Weeknd describes his parasitic relationship with his current lover. The erratic lyrics paired with his experimental vocals make the song a standout. The music video for the song is equally as bizarre and entertaining as the song.

The promotional single, “Take My Breath,” was released on Aug. 6 along with a music video. The extended version of the song is the fourth track and the production is filled with overlapping synths that perfectly lead into the fifth track and second single on the album, “Sacrifice” featuring a prominent electro-funk guitar loop.

When the official tracklist was released on Jan. 5, many fans were surprised to see features by artists Tyler the Creator and Lil Wayne since The Weeknd  usually doesn’t have a lot of artists featured on his albums.

“Here We Go … Again” featuring Tyler the Creator is one of the more laid-back tracks production-wise, focusing more on the lyrics. The lyrics portray how love, even the darker aspects of it, is impossible to avoid no matter how cautious a person is.

The album begins to wrap up with the track “Less Than Zero”. The combination of classic The Weeknd synths and a more indie or alternative sound makes the song stand apart sonically. The song is a refreshing break from the darkness of the album.

“Phantom Regret By Jim”, the final track, brings listeners back to their reality with a poem spoken by Carrey that features background vocals by The Weeknd. The poem is a self-reflection with the voice of one’s soul.

The Weeknd continues to break boundaries and set new standards for music with “Dawn FM”. It is an album that fans can listen to over and over and still manage to find something new to enjoy about it. 

The Weeknd’s artistry and commitment to not only making new exciting music but to embracing and bringing his album concept to life is hard to come across in music today, but it’s what makes his music so compelling.