Tune Into Dawn FM: The Weeknd Album Review

Tune Into Dawn FM: The Weeknd Album Review

Ben Zangas '23, Edsman Staffer

The Weeknd’s new album, Dawn FM is a conceptual, cinematic dream. Following a wildly successful 2020 run, including a multi-platinum album and a Super Bowl performance in 2021, it seems like The Weeknd can’t lose, and this new project goes on to further that run. As 2020’s After Hours was inspired by the synth-pop of the 1980s, so is Dawn FM. But while the rich and exciting sounds of After Hours could have been a sonic parallel to the Vice City tales of Scorsese’s classic Casino, Dawn FM differs. The mysterious and moody synths which are prevalent in this album are much more reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s gothic science fiction noir, Blade Runner

The themes present in this album are not too different from his past work, covering topics of wealth, drugs, but perhaps most notably, love. Many of the songs on the album are about the affection of someone else, like “Take my Breath”, in which The Weeknd longs for the admiration of someone, and “Out of Time”, in which he recounts a past relationship, and his mistakes within it. On track eight, “Here We Go Again”, California MC Tyler, The Creator, is featured, whose feature covers the subject matter of relationships that likely will not last. In reference to success and wealth, Tyler repeats the phrase, “you gon’ sign this prenup, you gon’ sign this prenup”. On the same song, The Weeknd references his own past success, including his Super Bowl performance, and how lovers only want to be in a relationship with him to be able to brag about it to their friends and exes. Hip-hop icon Lil Wayne can be heard on track fourteen, “I Heard You’re Married”, in which he attempts to serenade and impress a past lover with his immense notoriety. Despite the star power that is held on the features of the composition, neither artists’ features are incredible, and leave a little less than desired, considering their track record. That being said, The Weeknd is able to hold his own on the aforementioned tracks, outshining Tyler and Wayne. 

The Weeknd sings like how a butterfly flies. His voice is elegant and fluttery, and his melodies are soothing in every sense of the word. However, his writing gets a little repetitive, and Abel’s history of failed relationships and flirtatious affairs are well understood by about track five of sixteen. In light of his sonic ability, the real star of the show on this album is the production. All of the instrumentals are throwbacks to the eighties, full of synths and computer-generated tones. The lush bass and tickling keys on the beats captivate your ears perfectly, and accentuate The Weeknd’s elegant tone. Even with a talent like him, the instrumentals on Dawn FM are what make it stand out. This concept album is a great fusion of musical archetypes from the past, and prediction to the space-aged future. In its nearly fifty-two minute length, The Weeknd transports listeners directly into the futuristic decadence that was predicted in the 1980s. Although it is not always the most inventive lyrically, the instrumentation on this album is not something to miss. Definitely tune in to Dawn FM.

Favorite tracks:

  • “How Do I Make You Love Me?”
  • “Sacrifice”
  • “Is There Someone Else?”
  • “Best Friends”

Least favorite tracks:

  • “Here We Go Again (feat. Tyler, the Creator)”
  • “I Heard You’re Married (feat. Lil Wayne)”