Arts, Music, Review

The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ Sets High Bar for Music This Year

★★★★☆

Out of all the guest artists that people might expect the Weeknd to feature on his new album Dawn FM, it’s hard to believe that anyone would expect Jim Carrey as a narrator. As out of left field as that feature seems, the narration on the first track is immediately pleasing to the ears, as is the rest of the album.

Carrey’s opening narration welcomes listeners as if they are tuning into a radio station, setting up a playful tone that is woven through the light and dance-worthy beats. On the record, which was released on Jan. 7, the Weeknd expands on his synthy style in a gorgeous way. Each song is packed with synthesizers that elevate the album’s sound to heavenly heights. 

It’s a signature sound that the Weeknd has been building over his career, and Dawn FM pushes his musicality even further. The electronic sound can be relaxing, such as on the track “Starry Eyes”—a softer ballad with trailing synths in the background. Other songs, including “How Do I Make You Love Me?,” offer more energizing dance beats, making the album a fun and dynamic listen. 



Carrey is not the only star whose voice graces the album. Dawn FM also features legendary music producer Quincy Jones, who tells a personal story as he speaks about growing up and parenting on “A Tale by Quincy.” Rappers Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne are also featured on the album. While Tyler, the Creator’s rapping slides smoothly between the Weeknd’s crooning on “Here We Go… Again,” Lil Wayne’s verse feels out of place on the track “I Heard You’re Married.”  Lil Wayne’s style is naturally slower than the song, and the rhythm feels off, marking a rare flaw on an otherwise impressive record. 

While the evolved synth sound is technically impressive and musically enjoyable, it’s hard to ignore the similarities to one of the Weeknd’s inspirations. Dawn FM sounds strikingly similar to  Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories. At one point, the Weeknd’s record feels repetitive on “A Tale by Quincy,” which is conceptually close to Daft Punk’s song “Giorgio by Moroder” as they both highlight music legends on electronic tracks. . 

Adding an interesting surprise for his listeners, the Weeknd expands on his single “Take My Breath” by offering an extended version with more electronic beats in the background. Extending singles for the album release is a novel concept, and it’s exciting for loyal fans who have been waiting for the album. Instead of listening to the song that has been out for months or even years, fans get to listen to new content. The Weeknd has started the year with a bang and set a high bar for other artists releasing music in 2022. From dark, synth-heavy ballads to Carrey reading poetry, it’s hard to find something to dislike on Dawn FM.

Featured Image Courtesy of Republic Records

January 12, 2022

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