Dawn FM: A ‘nice artistic evolution’

An album review by Hayden Cecil


Graphic by Hayden Cecil

On January 7th, The Weeknd dropped his fifth studio album, Dawn FM. This album acts as a follow-up to his previous hit album After Hours. 

The Weeknd has been in the music industry for over 10 years now. He started by making dark R&B, but has now transitioned into synth pop.

 His new album acts as the second chapter in what The Weeknd himself has stated is going to be a trilogy. His previous album After Hours, the first chapter, shows a reckless lifestyle full of emptiness.

Now, he is in old age and is looking back on his life in the form of the fictional radio station, 103.5 Dawn FM. Canadian actor and comedian Jim Carey acts as the radio host and narrates the album.

The only single that was released prior to the release of the album was Take My Breath, the fourth track on the album. The song talks about temptations. The synths and psychedelic pop was mesmerizing and entertaining throughout. I loved the loops on The Weeknd’s voice on the bridges. I loved the chorus; it was super catchy. Overall I really enjoyed listening to this song.

After the interlude, A Tale By Quincy, given by Quincy Jones, the album changes pace. Beginning with the seventh song, Out Of Time. He realizes that he is out of time to fix a relationship he had in the past. The song has a beautiful sample from an 80s Japanese pop song. The synths are divine on this song and his heavenly voice compliments them. The chorus and hook are also excellent. 

On the eighth song, Here We Go… Again, The Weeknd continues to give us dreamy synths, but this time adds in friend Tyler, The Creator.  The intro of this song gives us a victory lap, talking about his last album’s success and his lavish lifestyle  as well as his Super Bowl LV half time performance.

Then Tyler, The Creator hops on the song. This was their first time collaborating with each other. He gave an amazing feature, and I hope to hear more of them together in the future. They both talk about the dark sides of love and how it hurts them. The Weeknd stated back in an interview with GQ that he’d like to work with Tyler, and we finally got that. 

On the 15th song, Less Than Zero, The Weeknd delivers us a very upbeat outro that reminds me of his hit song, Save Your Tears. He wants a certain girl back, but she doesn’t want him. She views him as less than zero and doesn’t want him. This hurts him and guilts him as he made mistakes that hurt her. 

Jim Carey ends the album with a heartfelt message about finding peace and accepting it. 

Overall Pros: 

The production level on this album was immaculate. All of the assisted production from Swedish House Mafia really gave the album an extra boost. It was really enjoyable to listen to from top to bottom, as it was pretty consistent. I definitely think it has a high replay value. I loved the transitions; they were smooth and flawlessly woven into the album. The synths were beautiful and I liked the way he infused them into different genres and created his own distinct sound. The radio show was a nice concept for the album and Jim Carey was the perfect man for this role.

Overall Cons: 

I really didn’t like the 14th track, I Heard You’re Married. It was definitely the weakest song and just felt like a filler. I was excited when I saw he had a feature from Lil Wayne, but was very disappointed in the song.  Lil Wayne had a very corny verse and his flow and the beat don’t really suit each other — or him. While the album was good, it was a little top heavy, as songs in the bottom half weren’t as strong. I didn’t think it was as good as After Hours, but it’s still amazing. I think a flaw that this album is gonna have is that it didn’t have hit potential. I didn’t expect him to top arguably the biggest hit of all time, Blinding Lights, but he definitely has the ability to make a hit. The Weeknd’s next project will be just as fleshed out as these last two projects. Unfortunately this will take time and we probably won’t see anything new until next year. I’m very excited to see what the future holds.

This album is a great way to start the year and a nice artistic evolution from The Weeknd. I would give this album a 9/10.