The Weeknd electrifies and masters modern disco, dance-pop on ‘Dawn FM’

The Weeknd is known for his commitment to theme and storytelling and “Dawn FM” is the newest addition to his musical universe to highlight this artistic strategy.

Released Jan. 7 through XO and Republic Records, the album includes 16 tracks alongside features from Tyler the Creator and Lil Wayne. The project showcases monologues from Jim Carrey, Josh Safdie and Quincy Jones, meant to represent the talk show hosts of a morning radio show.

Photo credit: Isabelle Dino

The “Blinding Lights” singer spent the last few months releasing hints and teasers relating to the album.

“If the last record is the ‘After Hours’ of the night, then ‘The Dawn’ is coming,” The Weeknd said to Variety in May 2021.

“The Dawn is Coming” became a growing theme on his social media platforms following that announcement. To please the fans, on Aug. 6 he released the album’s first single “Take My Breath” in partnership with NBC Sports, showcasing the new dark blue theme on his Instagram which greatly contrasted his ‘After Hours’ era.

On Jan. 1, he posted to his Instagram a message with longtime creative director, La Mar Taylor.

“Everything feels chaotic again. Music can heal and that feels more important than another album rollout. Let’s just drop the whole thing and enjoy it with the people… XO.”

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“Dawn FM” has a clear concept, where the listener is invited into The Weeknd’s depiction of purgatory. This experience is narrated by a 1980s radio station that guides the album tracks through past life moments of love, regret and betrayal, until it ultimately leads them to the next step of their transition.

“Dawn FM” is the perfect pop album to start the year, one that surely won’t be forgotten any time soon. The Weeknd manages to encapsulate what made 80s music great, while still making the sound his own and contemporary.

While there will always be a great appreciation for his early melancholy sound that he made famous on the “Trilogy” projects, “Dawn FM” feels like a great definition of who he is now as an artist. The Weeknd started his experimentation with synth-pop sounds alongside Daft Punk with 2016’s “Starboy.” Continuing this sonic trend, his fifth studio album feels like he’s mastered it.

Standout tracks on “Dawn FM” include “Gasoline,” “Out of Time” and “Here We Go Again,” each of which exemplifies The Weeknd’s dark disco, 80s synth-pop sonics that fit right in at any dance club. The electric beats of the album’s tracks would sound at home on the runway of New York Fashion Week.

It’s clear that Toronto’s dreamy, dance-pop icon continues to elevate today’s pop music, and we can only wait to see what direction he heads in next.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” here.