By Grady Boris, Staff Writer
Dawn is upon us with The Weeknd’s fifth studio album, Dawn FM. The album centers around what lies before the afterlife, with actor Jim Carrey appearing three times as an ominous narrator, guiding the listener through the story.
The album’s run time hits around the 50-minute mark and fits neatly into the synth-pop genre, a genre that the Canadian-born has been attempting to perfect since his 2016 release, Starboy.
Influences of other pop stars can be heard throughout the album, such as Michael Jackson’s influence on “Sacrifice.”
The narrative is told from the perspective of a “waiting room” before the afterlife and is masterfully done, telling a complete story that unfolds more with every track.
Carrey’s appearances mark the beginning, middle and end of the album, checking on the listener as if he was running a regular radio station. Carrey closes the album in “Phantom Regret by Jim” by talking about how “Heaven is for those who let go of regret.”
As for the tracks offered up, The Weeknd shows off how much he’s been able to grow as an artist over the course of his career. Some highlights are “Out of Time,” “Gasoline,” “Less than Zero” and “Here We Go… Again.” Each one touches on themes of grief, regret, love and heartbreak, and all center around a lack of closure.
The features on the album also add to the depth of the project. Tyler the Creator’s voice on “Here We Go… Again” shows a more vulnerable side to the guest artist, his inflection sounding more innocent as he talks about heartbreak. The tone used is akin to the one from his 2019 project Igor, minus the distorted effects layered over it. Lil Wayne appears later on in the album on the track “I Heard You’re Married.”
The skits and shorts complete the album, making it an easy listen and an LP that has replayability. “Phantom Regret” offers a fantastic conclusion to the project, and the intro — “Dawn FM” — is an excellent way to begin, setting the scene and tone.
As for where Dawn FM fits into the entirety of The Weeknd’s discography, only time will tell. It’s hard for me to call this a return to form as most (if not every) project The Weeknd has released has been good to great, from his early mixtape days up until Afterhours.
Overall, I would highly recommend Dawn FM and The Weeknd as a whole to anybody, regardless of your usual music preferences.