“I told myself that I’d never fall, but here we go again!”
That’s the general reaction to Grammy winner artist, The Weeknd, releasing his long-awaited 5th studio album, Dawn FM, on Jan. 6.
After the success of his previous album, After Hours, The Weeknd reinvented yet again his premier R&B sound with a technopop twist. This new sound created a clear album-of-the-year performance from the Toronto native.
Dawn FM follows the narrative of a radio station being controlled by Hollywood royalty, Jim Carrey, who invites the listener into an immersive experience. Like any signature record of his, Dawn FM tells the tale of The Weeknd’s journey with yet another heartbreaking story. He tries to find any means necessary to obtain the girl he loves. However, all of his efforts are in vain as they are both playing an endless game of love and manipulation. By the end of the last track, “Less than Zero,” The Weeknd accepts his fate, that he will never be enough for her. Through heavy and emotional lyrics, Dawn FM is yet another marvelous installment in the Weeknd’s illustrious discography on pursuing a hopeless love.
Like with any great album, the features also need to be up-to-par for a solid performance. With the unlikely trio of Tyler the Creator, Lil Wayne and Jim Carrey, the artists delivered. Tyler came in to serve a short but effective verse on “Here We Go… Again,” singing about the labels humans apply to love. Lil Wayne has continued his streak of amazing features with his verse on “I Heard You’re Married.” Like The Weeknd, Lil Wayne shames his lover for treating him irrelevantly under an alleged affair. He then threatens her “husband” before being cut off with The Weeknd’s infectious hook, serving the audience a catchy beat and entertaining drama all on one platter.
However, the most interesting feature is undoubtedly the narration of Jim Carrey throughout the record. His maniacal yet soothing voice acts almost like a guide through The Weeknd’s story while also in kayfabe DJing the whole gig. His heartfelt poem featured on the last track, “Phantom Regret by Jim,” sees Carrey reflecting on life and if anything was ever really worth it. These three talented artists help immerse listeners in the story that the Weeknd shares, complimenting the tracks perfectly while not taking away from the Weeknd’s spotlight.
Due to his interests in cinema, The Weeknd was able to channel this interest in the concept of this album. Dawn FM was able to captivate audiences into this radio station concept with its stellar production throughout the record. The opening track, “Gasoline,” shows audiences this new wave of sound from The Weeknd. The fast-paced track still offers us the usual Weeknd vocals, but now they are mixed in a techno electronic-dance-music style beat that offers a fresh twist.
Additionally, he also pays homage to legends such as Michael Jackson and Prince with the production. On “I Heard You’re Married,” the synths and beats draw inspiration from Prince’s signature sound. Jim Carrey also pays homage to him in his outro, stating, “When the purple rain falls, we’re all bathed in grace,” honoring the late great classic record, Purple Rain.
Dawn FM is another breathtaking performance from The Weekend, delivering with this record on all cylinders. Expect to be jamming out to tracks like “Take My Breath Away” or crying to “Is There Someone Else” the next time you listen to the radio.