Dawn FM


Dayan Rivera

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye or more famously known as The Weeknd has recently released his newest album, Dawn FM, and to be honest…it was great, although not quite like the music we are familiar with. It seems he has changed the way his music sounds over the years, the songs he used to release sounded more “somber” and now he takes more of a futuristic or retro approach.


Although I understand his new approach, behind the upbeat tunes there are hidden messages. I did not pay much attention to the lyrics at first because the beats throughout each song were uplifting, something you could dance to. However, the second time around I was quite disturbed. 


There’s a definitive theory behind Dawn FM. The Weeknd’s take on the album is supposed to resemble listening to a radio station. As Pitchfork described it, you are sitting “in a traffic jam, in a tunnel, only the tunnel is purgatory and the light at the end of the tunnel as death.”


I listened to the album chronologically, starting with the introductory, “Dawn FM” audio; I was intrigued to listen more. It was a soothing dark audio featuring famous actor, Jim Carey, saying things such as

“walk into the light””

— Jim Carey

or “accept your fate.”When I first heard the audio I didn’t think much of it, however when I replayed the audio and noticed what Carey said definitely caught me off-guard. 


I moved on to the first song in the album, “Gasoline.” Personally, this was for sure my favorite song and on the 11th he released a rather odd music video to it. I’m assuming that in the album the Weeknd appears to be an older version of himself and in the video, he goes into a nightclub where there are flashes of light and people dancing, yet, in between each flash there’s a demonic presence. Out of nowhere a version of his younger self and older self meet and the younger version starts to harm the other physically. 


In each song that was played the Weeknd tries to foreshadow the presence of death or sings about heartbreak by saying things such as “I remember when I held you” or “You begged me with your drowning eyes to stay”, from “Out of Time.” He tells stories throughout the album and it was interesting how he viewed certain situations including how he portrayed them through each song.  

I really enjoyed the album altogether despite preferring his old music more. The way he told his experiences or stories through his music made the album so much more entertaining to listen to.