The Weeknd – Dawn FM
Dawn FM is a continuous stream of music that lends rhythm and beat in transitions from one track to the next. The Weeknd creates a cohesive listening experience, like the record’s chosen theme of radio play. Simple yet quite effective, editing techniques such as classic fadeouts, crossfades and sound bridges create easy segues from song to song. The singer-songwriter also adds radio jingles in between to keep up the same façade.
Birds chirp alongside a long note in Dawn FM. It’s very much like waking up to the sound of the coming day. The melody recalls Vince Staples’s Home, with a downward trajectory, and focusing mostly on sharp notes. This introduction sets the stage for a radio station talk-host-like aesthetic, a concept Staples has also used for his third studio album FM! back in 2018. Jim Carrey speaks into the mic as the presenter.
As the opening single for this era, Take My Breath is a seamless evolution from preceding track How Do I Make You Love Me. The same goes for Save Your Tears, The Weeknd’s last single from his previous record, After Hours. Though the latter has a similar melodic arc, Take My Breath is more upbeat with a discothèque tempo. Lyrically, it’s in complete juxtaposition with its predecessors, favouring less elaboration with a more seductive tone.
A Tale by Quincy utilises spoken word to emulate a radio interview, this time, its producer Quincy Jones – hence the title – talks of growing up, his mother’s leave and her dementia. He ventures into musings of not having the experience of “being raised”, its affect on him and his relationships with his children and the women in his life. Breaks like these unearth human stories only ever captured through candid heart-to-hearts. This thought is all the more powerful when taking into account how A Tale by Quincy is sandwiched between Sacrifice and Out of Time.
Every Angel Is Terrifying mocks up commercial breaks with the dishonest trappings of the afterlife with interviews and adverts. Numbers change and promises aren’t always consistent. Phantom Regret by Jim closes and ties together all the themes. Derived from “phantom pains”, the imagery is of dawn breaking through, with promises of everything humans associate with peace, heaven and eternal paradise – fitting, considering Carrey once played God in Bruce Almighty.
Dawn FM is released on 7th January 2022. For further information or to order the album visit The Weeknd’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Take My Breath here: