Our thoughts on ‘Dawn FM’

Carmen Karsonovich and Nandita Kumar

On Jan. 7, Abel Tsfaye, also known as “The Weeknd” released his most recent album “Dawn FM.” As soon as it was turned on, we felt transported into Abel’s little universe. Although Tik Tok, (and a certain thumb) has turned the world against the album, we are here to tell you exactly why The Weeknd deserves album of the year (whether or not he’s submitting to the Grammys). 

The Weeknd’s fifth studio album seems to be a continuation of his last hit, “After Hours.” To us, “Dawn FM” is the sun on the horizon after the dark midnight “After Hours” provided. Whether this be the end of “After Hours” or a new start, it is unsure. With its synthy, daft punk-esque background, Abel creates an experience that we can only describe as sitting in the waiting room before death. Jim Carrey intermittently arrives on the scene as “The DJ,” reminding the listener, “You’re almost there…Before you’re completely engulfed in the blissful embrace of that little light you see in the distance/Soon you’ll be healed, forgiven, and refreshed/Free from all trauma, pain, guilt, and shame…But before you dwell in that house forever/Here’s thirty minutes of easy listening to some slow tracks/On 103.5 Dawn FM”(Out of Time). Abel himself smoothly transitions between tracks, telling a tale of lost friendship, love and heartbreak. He strategically weaves a motif through his use of electric guitar and piano and incorporates a crescendoing story line. And let’s not forget his all-star collaborations from Tyler Okonma and Lil Wayne. The Weeknd placed these helping hands perfectly, coupling them and the undertones of the album with ease. Tyler and Lil Wayne don’t become the focus of the piece, they simply exist within it. 

Many still crave the same sound as Abel’s old works like “Trilogy,” but this new piece remains reminiscent of the “After Hours” days, even as he explores new mediums. As The Weeknd extends his discography, we implore the music loving world to expect and embrace his artistic growth. We see this so much with artists, where their fans are the people that end up stunting their development because they are expected to reproduce the same type of music over and over again. His shift away from themes of sex, drugs and the temporary highs of a twenty-something show the listener just how much he’s grown as an artist. We should be able to appreciate all the miniature revolutions of his albums.

This album is a perfect blend of pop, R&B, and mid 90’s electronica. If you’re looking for a completely new experience, listen to this album all the way through, no skips. Abel transports the listener to a different world. No matter what camp you’re in, this album will be a completely different experience than anticipated, especially considering The Weeknd’s past musical endeavors. We promise this piece will not disappoint- or maybe it will, we don’t know you.