With little album rollout, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, released his fifth studio album “Dawn FM.” It is a creative piece of work that finds itself at the center of a new trilogy and seems to mimic the divine comedy theory. Although it was released in the first week of January, the year seems to be off to an incredibly strong start due to this musical masterpiece. 

If his last album “After Hours” presented The Weeknd in Hell, then this album is characterized perfectly as purgatory. The whole album flows together nicely and is framed as if you were actually listening to an old radio channel from the 1980s or ‘90s. Additionally, with actor Jim Carrey’s staticky voice coming through a radio, reassuring the listener that where they are is merely a waiting room to something much greater; it is anyone’s guess at what is next for the Canadian artist. Following this pattern, we can assume his next album will center around motifs of Heaven. And while Carrey’s narration is just the icing on the cake; The Weeknd’s work on this album, however, truly shines through. 

  1. “Dawn FM”

This intro track sets a very airy and peaceful mood to the album, but also establishes a synthy standard for what the album will actually “sound” like. Jim Carrey seems to be right there next to you as he holds your hand and guides you into the first official track, which is “Gasoline”.

  1. “Gasoline”

“Gasoline” sounds like something straight out of the credit roll in 1985’s “The Breakfast Club.” Tesfaye pitches down his voice a few octaves to really give it this feel; however, the theme is a bit darker than the fun and poppy sound may portray. This song mainly focuses on drug addiction and how he relies on other people; and similar to the love interest described in the song, he makes sure that he is being safe and responsible.

  1. “How Do I Make You Love Me?”

This song feels like the opposite side of the same coin that was “Gasoline,” with a bit more hyped-up synth instrumentation than before. This track follows the main idea of love throughout the whole three minutes, a topic Tesfaye has never shied away from. It seems as though he is almost bargaining for love with someone, and may seem a bit desperate for real love.

  1. “Take My Breath”

A few weeks ago, in preparation for this album’s release, The Weeknd released “Take My Breath” as the lead single to the album; however, this version of the song clocks in at just 3 minutes and 40 seconds, whereas the album version received a two-minute addition that gives the whole song a new makeover. With clear influence from the earlier work of artists like Daft Punk, it is clear that The Weeknd is beginning to experiment further with beats similar to the ones you can hear in this song. The lyrics explain the hardship and struggle of being in a relationship, which has coincidentally been received with the most critical acclaim, being one of the main fan-favorites of this project.

  1. “Sacrifice”

Following a very similar sound as the four previous songs, “Sacrifice” could easily pass as an eighties-era pop song. Tesfaye sings melodically about all of the sacrifices he must make in order to maximize the happiness in his life.

  1. “A Tale By Quincy”

“A Tale By Quincy” is best described as a water break in the middle of a race. This interlude, narrated by legendary producer Quincy Jones, allows the listener to catch their breath while also thinking about family and the relationships they have around them. It is best to mentally prepare yourself after this one because from here on out, the quality of the album really shows.

  1. “Out Of Time”

The Weeknd laments about past relationships on his R&B-inspired “Out of Time”. This song has been my personal favorite on this album since its release, with one of (if not) the catchiest hook on the entire album that is impossible not to sing along with. Jim Carrey steps back into the scene in the closing minute of this track, where he reminds the listener that there is still some time before they are “completely engulfed in the blissful embrace of that little light you see in the distance,” and assures “you may even forget your own name” before bringing the listener into track eight.

  1. “Here We Go… Again (Featuring Tyler, The Creator)”

My second favorite on this album comes right after the first; Tesfaye and Tyler, The Creator share the spotlight this time, where they mellowly sing about stepping into a new relationship and the steps they must take to work everything out. The pace is slowed down a bit on this song, but the quality only improves. 

  1. “Best Friends”

This song has been met with some very mixed reviews by fans of the artist. Personally, I think the song is great, and it shows how once you remove yourself from a relationship with a significant other, it becomes difficult to maintain a friendship later on; he is able to create this feeling over a heavy-hitting 808 drum.

  1. “Is There Someone Else?”

This song, with its creative chipmunk-sounding sample, sounds like one of the most futuristic beats on the whole album. Abel seems to be questioning himself before he gets into a relationship, making sure that the person he is talking to will remain loyal no matter what, and confirming he “doesn’t lose his spot” in line.

  1. “Starry Eyes”

If you weren’t paying attention to the timing of the last track, you wouldn’t notice the transition from “Is There Someone Else?” to “Starry Eyes,” which serves sonically as a part two of sorts to the former. This time, he is telling this hypothetical love interest that he will put in the work to love them.

  1. “Every Angel Is Terrifying”

This song isn’t really a song at all and instead is almost like an advertisement for Heaven from purgatory. Abel himself serves as the broadcasting voice, marketing to listeners below what “angels” are, and talks about the raving reviews that critics have given the afterlife. He hilariously creates the 80s-infomercial feel to this track, which is sure to give you a good laugh before the last leg of the Dawn FM experience.

  1. “Don’t Break My Heart”

This song sounds most like The Weeknd that we know from past albums. The sound is very ambient and soft like his work in his first album “Trilogy,” and in this song, he really hopes that he doesn’t get his heart broken again. It feels like an ode to his actual life and experiences, where he has gone through heartbreak in the public eye multiple times.

  1. “I Heard You’re Married (Featuring Lil Wayne)”

If you told me Lil Wayne would hop on a song with The Weeknd last year, I would say you’re crazy. Much to my surprise, this song works really well, and the sound of the song fits both the gritty rap style of Lil Wayne and the high-pitched singing of The Weeknd. This song is catchy and is a great collaboration of two titans in the music industry.

  1. “Less Than Zero”

This song has been dubbed the favorite by many internet-goers, and feels very autumnal in its sound, if that makes any sense. It is such a happy and uplifting song and Tesfaye’s vocals about moving on from negative relationships make you feel like you helped him through this journey.

  1. “Phantom Regret by Jim”

This final interlude serves as the conclusion of the whole album, which includes three full minutes of Jim Carrey wrapping up what you just heard and what is next for you as the listener. The whole “phantom regret” part makes you think deeply; would you go to your grave unhappy and full of broken relationships? Or would you try to fix all these hardships so you can rest peacefully with no phantom regret? Carrey claims “You gotta be heaven to see heaven” in the dying seconds of the album, which, if I had to guess, will be the main idea for the next album that is being cooked up by The Weeknd himself.

If you haven’t listened to this album, do yourself the favor and give it a whole spin, front to back, without skipping into any songs. If you just let it play, you’ll be transported into a whole different world that will really make you reflect.

 

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