Tune in to Dawn FM

The Weeknd releases 5th studio album in the form of an 80s radio tour


Republic Records

In typical Weeknd fashion, Abel Tesfaye dresses up and embodies a certain character in order to promote his album. For his previous album “After Hours,” he dressed up in a red suit and a heavily bandaged face. Now, he swaps the gore prosthetics for an aged version of himself, complete with wrinkles and grey facial hair.

Rating: 9/10

The Weeknd delivers listeners with an immersive experience in his latest album, curated to imitate being trapped in a dark tunnel alone with the radio channel 103.5 Dawn FM.

The opening track presents listeners Jim Carrey’s classic voice, inviting us to “Just relax and enjoy another hour of commercial free music.” This eerie narration that continues throughout the album produces a unique, cinema-like quality.

In order for this carefully constructed aura to be fully appreciated, it’s best to listen to the album all at once, and in order.

“Dawn FM” comes out of the gate with the eerie and discotheque-esque track “Gasoline”. It’s a much different angle than most Weeknd fans would expect, with him opening the song singing in a lower register than his usual high, floating vocals. It tells the story of a drug addict and his lover, instructing her to burn his body with gasoline if he dies in his sleep.

The next track, “How Do I Make You Love Me?”, continues in the 80s synth pop direction that the Weeknd started with his previous album ‘After Hours’. As the song fades out with the sounds of staccato, short breaths building in intensity, it seamlessly transitions into the upbeat track, “Take My Breath,” that follows.

“Sacrifice” is an absolute joy to listen to and completes a 5/5 performance from The Weeknd to begin the project. The electro-funk guitar loop and samples of “I Want To Thank You” by Alicia Myers and “I’ll Do Anything For You” by Denroy Morgan mesh together to form a piece that sounds straight out of the 80s.

“Out of Time” is a slow, sensual song that ends on a snippet from Jim Carrey warning us to not “touch that dial” because “there’s still more music to come.”

The second half of the album is slightly less stunning than the first, despite housing possibly the best song in “Less than Zero,” a track that is best described as the sensation of running freely through an open field in the springtime.

The 80s radio station vibe is reinforced throughout the album, even featuring a bizarre ad on “Every Angel is Terrifying.”

After the emotional highs and lows of ‘Dawn FM’, it is sent off by a soothing Seussian poem read by Jim Carrey, reminiscent of a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” on a wintry Christmas Eve night.

“You gotta be Heaven to see Heaven/May peace be with you,” Carrey says.

This is without question the most cohesive, cinematic piece of art I have ever listened to. I highly recommend everyone to set aside an hour or so to listen to the album in full all at once.