REVIEW: The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ takes your breath away

REVIEW: The Weeknds Dawn FM takes your breath away

Promotional Material obtained from theweeknd on Instagram


After the smashing success The Weeknd, or Abel Tesfaye, experienced over the past two years with his album “After Hours”, he could have released another similar project to similar critical acclaim. Instead, creative as ever, Tesfaye released “Dawn FM,” a concept album inspired by sitting in traffic, listening to the radio as you die. The album is a wild ride, filled with all the crazy advertisements and Jim Carrey posing as a narrator and guiding the listeners through this album. 

This album is one that requires some listening to really understand it, as a song like “Every Angel is Terrifying” contains a one-minute infomercial about the afterlife that one might miss. The actual music is similar to “After Hours” and songs like “Sacrifice” and “Out of Time” are similar to what you get from other projects. However, when framed through the lens of a radio station in purgatory, the mood of the songs change. 

This station starts with an intro that sets the mood as mysterious, as the narrator says “You’ve been in the dark for way too long / It’s time to walk into the light / And accept your fate with open arms.” The album then continues with its 80s R&B theme until “Take My Breath” and “Sacrifice” dip into pop themes. The next song is an interlude entitled “A Tale By Quincy” wherein famed producer Quincy Jones reflects on his life and rocky upbringing. In this album, Tesfaye parallels this childhood with his own, as he self-reflects for the whole album.

In a world of Omicron and rising COVID-19 cases, The Weeknd embodies the hopelessness that many feel right now. Tesfaye’s initial desire to create a sequel for “After Hours” became “too dark and sad” for him, as confirmed in a virtual live listening session with the press. His decision to scrap this album as well as canceling his 2022 tour left many fans with questions, but clearly, this album became an escape for him. Some of the standout tracks on this album are “Sacrifice”, “Less Than Zero”, “Is There Someone Else” and “Don’t Break My Heart”. 

Tesfaye’s ability to make a listener dissociate from their body with his music has always been a strength of his as an artist. This definitely happens with “Dawn FM” as the listener can escape just as much as The Weeknd did when he was creating this album. The album ends with “Phantom Regret by Jim”, a self-reflective poem (written and performed by Carrey) which implores the listener to come to peace within their own life. With how 2021 ended and 2022 started, we can all take Carrey’s advice to heart.