Since August 2021, The Weeknd has not stopped teasing details about his upcoming album, proving once again his sharp marketing acumen. Subliminal messages here, teasers there... The Toronto-born artist has once and for all confirmed the arrival of this new album, following the excellent After Hours (2020), by unveiling Take My Breath, the first single from this project. An electro-pop track with disco influences that largely sets the tone. After many months of silence, The Weeknd returned just three days ago, unveiling the name, the sleeve and the track list of the album entitled Dawn FM. On the cover of the album, the singer appears aged, looking like someone in his seventies. The Weeknd has already experimented with ultra-realistic make-up in his visuals, covering his face with bandages to feign injuries or simulating Botox injections.
In a short video clip, The Weeknd also revealed the list of guests (quite an impressive one) in this album. Among those featured are legendary producer Quincy Jones, rappers Tyler, The Creator and Lil Wayne, experimental producer Oneohtrix Point Never and, more unexpectedly, cult actor Jim Carrey. A fine list of guest stars, as tempting as it is surprising, in an album that the public was at long last able to enjoy on Friday 7th January 2022, including sixteen tracks lasting a total of fifty-one minutes, and that is, above all, an immersion in the pop and electro-futuristic world of the Canadian artist.
Dawn FM begins like a radio show, with an intro narrated by Jim Carrey himself, who performs the part of host. Soothing voice, credits, jingles… This approach defines the whole album, with different interludes that confirm the concept of a radio station straight from the future (or the past). Indeed, in this album, The Weeknd mixes 80s disco influences with futuristic electronic sounds, while embracing an assertive pop style (reminiscent of the track Blinding Lights, the second single from the album After Hours, which holds the record for the number of weeks spent in the top 5 and top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100). While the artist first unveiled a series of super danceable tracks (How Do I Make You Love Me?, Take My Breath, Sacrifice), he then once more declared his love of Daft Punk –with whom he collaborated on his 2016 album Starboy– on the tracks A Tale By Quincy or Out of Time, thanks to an analogy of powerful electronic melodies.
This atmosphere combining pop and electro is also a result of the presence of producer Oneohtrix Point Never on almost all the tracks, which gives Dawn FM an experimental air, sometimes even bordering on the weird. As for the topics addressed, The Weeknd does not shy from talking about themes that are dear to him, such as love, sex, relationships or disappointment, which he explores for example in Best Friends (which deals with impossible friendships), or Don't Break My Heart (which talks about betrayal in love). While Dawn FM has only been out for a few hours, the album is being hailed on social media as the best musical project of the year, and the artist is even compared to Michael Jackson. And yet this album is ultimately much more conceptual than the singer's previous projects, and, for once, the mainstream hits don't take precedence over the album as a whole.
Dawn FM (2022) by The Weeknd, available.