After a humongous album rollout in 2020 for ‘After Hours’, the Weeknd has finally unveiled his new album, Dawn FM. ‘After Hours’ didn’t have any features whereas in this album there are co-executive producers, Max Martin and Oneohtrix Point Never, the cheesy radio DJ Jim Carrey and Quincy Jones. This new body of work from the Weeknd continues the same 80’s synth-pop era from his previous album, and some disco-pop from the Micheal Jackson Era.
#1 Out of time
A song which the weeknd has sampled from the song midnight pretenders by Tomoko Aran. This is a perfect follow-up to ‘A tale by Quincy’ where the weeknd introspects about how his haunting experiences in the past have impacted his romantic relationships and it’s too late to rectify them. He desperately wants the second chance to rectify the mistakes he made in the first place, but as he said in the song ‘Too Late’, “it’s way too late to save our souls baby”. The use of 80’s Japanese city pop makes this song infinitely better.
#2 How do I make you love me?
The opening line, “we’re going back in time”, could sum up the whole album, Dawn FM, with the weeknd nailing the instrumentation. The repetitive hook signifies the fact that the weeknd, has got only one thing in mind as he pleads for a woman’s love in a way that it’s unlike him. The sharp breaths at the end which, then effortlessly transition into ‘take my breath’ just helps make this song one of the best on the record.
#3 Is there someone else
The transition from best friends to this track is flawless, and the vocals at the beginning of the track are sublime. The electronic beats in the background grab the attention of the listeners. “And I don’t want to be a prisoner to who I used to be” is a callback to the track ‘Prisoner’ from the album ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ with Lana Del Rey. In this song, Abel talks about his addiction and the decisions he’s made in the past. In his previous album, we see Abel going back to his old ways and now as the dawn enlightens him with these situations he realises his past mistakes and tries to better himself.
#4 Less than zero
On the track, Abel speaks about the way he used to be romantically involved with a girl and how she perceives him now as less than zero. But the lyrics “Now you’d rather leave me than just to watch me die in your arms” are enough to make you feel sympathy for him. This song is fairly straightforward yet emotionally effective, the chorus and the beat are infectious.
The song is co-produced by the famous music supergroup, Swedish House Mafia. The track also includes samples of ‘I want to thank you’ by Alicia Myers and ‘I’ll do anything for you’ by Destroying Morgan. It sounds a lot like a Michael Jackson track, with the disco-funk off an electric loop guitar.
#6 Take my breath
The weeknd stretches the nostalgic 80’s sound in this track with an intro and an extended bridge which is 2 minutes longer than the original single he released in August. The track’s hypnotizing synth builds up enough adrenaline to get listeners up on their feet.
#7 Starry eyes
The weeknd talks about the girl of his dreams from when he was young and alone in the world. The weeknd promises the girl of his dreams that he’ll love her like she deserves even when he’s talked about his fears of love in the past tracks of the record. As the song transitions from optimism to cynicism, it still leaves a question of whether he still intends to keep his promise. The Weeknd carries the song with his angelic voice despite the lyrics being very direct and feeling incomplete.
#8 Best friends
The track sees Abel trying to tell the girl he has a sexual relationship to not fall in love with him as he’s previously been a part of toxic love and he’s still not healed to handle love. Hence, the weeknd asks her to focus on the friendship otherwise she would be hurt. The classic bass-booming and the simplicity in the production make the message captivating.
#9 I heard you’re married (FT. Lil Wayne)
The weeknd and Lil Wayne are seen talking about being involved with a girl who’s already taken. Co-produced by Calvin Harris, the song resembles parts of The Weeknd’s previous tracks namely ‘A lonely Night’ from Starboy. The weeknd plays a complete opposite narrative from his collaborative track ‘You Right’ with Doja Cat.
#10 Phantom regret by Jim (with Jim Carrey)
In the outro to the album, Jim Carrey guides the listeners who are stuck, to the light at the end of the tunnel. The poem asks the listeners to come to terms with what they’ve done and find peace with the things they regretted and accept the right and wrong choices they made during their life to finish their purgatory process. The birds chirping at the very end of this track resembles the very intro of the first track of the record ‘Dawn FM’ which signifies that this process is repetitive.
#11 Here we go… again (FT. Tyler, the creator)
The weeknd talks about the success of his previous work and includes the celebrations of the performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, but yet again is stopped by the trappings of fame and sex which signifies the title of the track ‘Here We Go… Again’. Tyler the creator’s verse is not his best and his deep voice doesn’t fit with the soft production of the song.
#12 Don’t break my heart
The Weeknd in this track talks about a woman who he describes as paralysing and mesmerising. The thumping baseline and the energy of this song sound exceptional, the production on the track overpowers the message it’s trying to give. The song could’ve been one of the best on the album if the lyrics were a bit more powerful.
In this song, Abel describes his toxic relationship with his current lover using them as a reason for his erratic drug problems. Abel requests them not to leave him as they’re the only thing he has at this point. But the weeknd growling in the low register leads some fans in believing that he sounds a bit out of his element and the vocals are off-putting.
#14 Dawn FM
Although this is not a track that you’ll have on repeat, it certainly sets the journey up ahead and the sign of things to come with the concept of the album Abel has used as a radio station guiding the listeners to that light you see at the end. But it’s just an intro to the album and not a full-length song.
#15 Every angel is terrifying
In this track, the haunting moans at the start of the track are exceptional with the exquisite use of synth chords. Abel then goes on and talks about how angels are portrayed as beautiful beings but are terrifying bizarre beings as described in the Bible. The track then goes on to be a radio commercial talking about how the afterlife is a beautiful and bizarre world. This is why despite the great instrumentation, in the beginning, the song is ranked second from the bottom. With the Weeknd’s recent tweet about experiencing a new trilogy, After Life went trending on Twitter as fans speculate that there could be another album named ‘After Life’ which would complete the trilogy of his 3 albums, After-hours, Dawn FM, Afterlife (rumored).
#16 A tale by Quincy (by Quincy Jones)
The first interlude of the album sees the famous producer Quincy jones talk about his difficult upbringing and how it impacted relationships between a woman and his kids. Dawn FM functions as a guiding spirit to the afterlife, and no one can turn back time no matter how badly they want to. There’s not a whole lot going on in the instrumentation of the track, hence it’s placed at the bottom of the rankings.