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Living for the Weeknd Erin tunes in to the dazzling Dawn FM

Living for the Weeknd

Erin tunes in to the dazzling Dawn FM

by Erin,
first published: January, 2022
The Weeknd has delivered his strongest album to date.

The Weeknd
Dawn FM
(Republic Records)

Are you aware of the concept of the 40-year cycle? It’s this idea that suggests that nostalgia works on a loop, so whatever was big 40 years ago has a resurgence in new forms:  think Mad Men’s 1960s setting when it premiered in 2007, Marvel making an Avengers movie in 2012 after the one that flopped in 1978 and most recently The Weeknd releasing his newest album filled with homage to the 1980s whilst also being distinctly modern. Although it has been apparent that pop music has been paying greater homage to icons of the 1980s ( with Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa being a notable example), it’s The Weeknd who delivers one of the best albums to follow this trend whilst being distinctly and uniquely him as an artist.

 Dawn FM marks The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), fully immersing himself in the sounds of that decade to deliver his strongest album.  Whilst his predecessor After Hours made it clear that he was shedding the moody, downbeat persona of his House of Balloons era, Dawn FM has him fully establish himself as an artist wrapped up in the world of the dancefloor whilst still retaining his defining melancholic attitude. The album submerges the listener in a loose and euphoric world urging you to ‘…release yourself to escape reality’, a world that you enter with the smooth welcoming from Jim Carrey on the opening track and don’t feel like leaving until the last notes of the closer Phantom Regret By Jim.

The album is cushioned by these luxurious synths and basslines that show the influence that Daft Punk has had on the Weeknd - an influence that is most clear on the transition between  How Do I Make You Love Me? and Take My Breath which beautifully and delicately transfers between the two songs with the first gradually fading into a steady exhale of breath as drum beath before the gradual build in the 5 minutes of album standout Take my Breath.

The penultimate Less Than Zero features some stellar production with the perfect blend of rising synths, acoustic guitars, and beautiful backing vocals that make it feel a triumphant last hurrah before life winds down again.  The abrupt fade to black, followed by the re-emergence of Carrey to close the proceedings: ‘it’s time to look back on the things you thought you owned. Do you remember them well? Were you high or just stoned?’ a low beat and The Weeknd’s smooth vocals accompany him.

Lyrically, there’s a pronounced development on Dawn FM. Whilst dregs of the hedonism that filled his Balloons trilogy are still present on the album, such as the line  ‘…Its 5am I’m nihilistic I know there’s nothing after this', on Gasoline , the album seems more mature and refined- similar to the album cover that portrays an artificially aged version of the artist. Even his references to his ex-girlfriend Bella Hadid and possible new girlfriend Angelina Jolie (lyrics that have already generated a bunch of tabloid articles) are done with relative distance and consideration despite being relatively harsh. He has fully matured his lyrics to match his sound with more steady and peaceful lyrics.

Dawn FM  manages to be captivating form beginning to end, delivering an intriguing and engaging concept with notable features from Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne.   After the possibly daunting success of After Hours, The Weeknd has delivered his strongest album to date.

Erin

Erin has a wide and diverse interest in music which she maintains is unsullied by the mostly impenetrable musical nonsense her father foists upon her.


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