It’s the “Dawn” of a New Era…Or is it?

Two years after the release of his album, After Hours, The Weeknd is back and has released his newest album, Dawn FM. 

This album was highly anticipated after several songs from his last album went viral, including “Blinding Lights,” “Heartless,” and “Save Your Tears.” It received great critical responses from the public and won several significant awards, leading to his epic performance at the 55th Super Bowl last year.

Obviously, I had high hopes for this album. 

Sadly, I was unimpressed. All of the instrumentals and beats started to run together after a while, which became very repetitive and it was hard to differentiate the songs from each other.

The first track, Dawn FM, helped to set the tone for the entire album. It introduced the “space” vibe that can be heard throughout most of the songs. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey spoke at the end of the track, as well as several other tracks, which brought a sort of dystopian effect. 

I found this to be very creatively artistic, and I actually enjoyed the space/dystopian theme. It was very retro.

Something that sets The Weeknd apart from other artists is how his albums have specific and in-depth concepts. Doing this brings his music to life in a way that other artists don’t.

However, it seems as though he tends to focus more on the overall album concept, rather than the actual content of the album; especially with this album.

That isn’t bad by any means, but I was just hoping for a little more out of the songs.

There were also a lot of long and drawn-out instrumentals in several songs, which caused me to grow bored. That is the opposite of what you would expect from The Weeknd considering how extravagant everything that he does is.

One of the first tracks that caught my attention was the third one titled “How Do I Make You Love Me?” The beat of the song reminded me of an old arcade from the 80s, which I thought was cool and sort of nostalgic, even though that’s not exactly my era. 

Another stand-out song was “Out of Time.” This is, if not the best, one of the best songs on the album. This track stood out from the rest, as it had the most R&B-type sound. It was very smooth and I enjoyed the lyricism. 

Carrey’s voice can be heard at the end “…You may even forget your own name. But before you dwell in that house forever, here are thirty minutes of easy listening to some slow tracks on 103.5 Dawn FM.” This catered to the more dystopian aspect of the album.

Though I wasn’t happy with the content of the album on my first listen, after listening to it in its entirety for the second time, I started to understand The Weeknd’s vision. This helped me to appreciate and enjoy the songs.

The songs in this album stood out from his past discography.

A stand-out track that has been surrounded by a lot of controversy is “I Heard You’re Married.” There is much speculation that this song is about The Weeknd’s long-time friend, Ariana Grande, who was recently married in May 2021. 

The two have collaborated on several songs and were rumored to have had some sort of romantic relation sometime during their time of collabing. People think that this track is about Grande due to many, perhaps, “coincidental” references to lyrics in her songs. 

“You manifested this, but girl I blame myself” is a line in the track. This could be a reference to Grande’s song all about manifesting titled “Just like Magic.” There are several other lyric references to Grande’s song throughout the track, as well as in a few other tracks.

Lil Wayne’s feature on the track, which I feel was the best part of the song, raised even more speculation as he featured on Grande’s “Let Me Love You.”

Nothing has been confirmed, so it is up to you to be the judge of what this song is truly about.

Two other tracks that I consider to be some of the best on the album are: “Is There Someone Else” and “Less Than Zero.”  

The album had great featured artists including Tyler the Creator and Lil Wayne. As I said before, Lil Wayne’s verse was the best on his track, and Tyler also managed to carry his featured track, “Here We Go Again.” Although, I do wish that Tyler’s part would have been a bit longer considering how much I enjoyed it. His verse was very swift and quick. 

This year, The Weeknd plans to go on tour, assuming that COVID won’t interfere with the dates. He’s already pushed the tour dates to this summer and hopes that they won’t have to get pushed back even further.

Although it took me a bit to fully appreciate and understand the concept of the album and each song, I did enjoy it overall. Some tracks will definitely be added to my playlist. 

The album wasn’t my favorite of his but overall it was still pretty good. The top three tracks in my opinion were “Out of Time,” “Is There Someone Else” and “How Do I Make You Love Me?” 

I would definitely recommend this album if you enjoy more groovy, retro or R&B music.