“Dawn FM” continues The Weeknd’s album trilogy

Dawn FM continues The Weeknds album trilogy

The Weeknd has been growing in popularity since 2012 and with the recent release of his newest album, “Dawn FM,” the growth hasn’t stopped. 

“Dawn FM” debuted number two on the Billboard 200 and had 148,000 album sales in the first week, with little advertising for the album. Those numbers are good compared to some of his past projects with heavy marketing.

“Dawn FM” was more of a surprise album than a fully marketed one. He released one song on Aug. 6, 2021, and dropped subtle hints on his Instagram, but the marketing was nowhere to be seen compared to projects such as “After Hours.”

“Dawn FM” is the second installment in a three-album trilogy, along with “After Hours.” The new album is a breath of fresh air switching tones from “After Hours,” an album with a darker, more serious tone compared to “Dawn FM,” an album with a much lighter, upbeat tone.

The album’s opening track is “Dawn FM.” The song begins with the Weeknd singing which then leads to  a narration led by actor Jim Carrey, whose character is a radio host for “103.5 Dawn FM.” 

The album takes inspiration from a radio station. Every so often, between songs, the radio host will come in and start talking to provide a transition between songs with a returning theme of leaving the dark and walking into the light, giving a feeling of intensity and eeriness.

“It’s time to walk into the light and accept your fate with open arms. Scared? Don’t worry. We’ll be there to hold your hand and guide you through this painless transition,” Carrey says as the narrator.

“The Weeknd’s creative mind came up with all of this for the theme of an album, and executed it perfectly,” Juliana Ross ‘24 said.

The album, as a whole, has a retro pop feel to make it sound lively and upbeat but the lyrics bring a much darker tone. With tracks like “Gasoline,” he opens singing in a droning, monotone style with an accent layered over with the song switching to a more recognizable tone later in the song. 

“I know you won’t let me OD, and if I finally die in peace, just wrap my body in these sheets, and pour out the gasoline, it don’t mean much to me.”

The postlude of the album, “Phantom Regret by Jim,” closes the album on an eerie note. A track with a deeper meaning of cleansing yourself from regrets and pain, trying to imply that you have to come to peace with yourself before dying.

“If pain’s living on when your body’s long gone, and your phantom regret hasn’t let it go yet, you may not have died in the way that you must” “Heaven’s for those who let go of regret, and you have to wait here when you’re not all there yet, but you could be there by the end of this song.”

The new album gained a variety of reactions. Some fans think it is good and some fans think it isn’t his best album.

“I wasn’t really a fan of this album compared to his other music. You can obviously tell he’s trying something new, like with the beats. They’re kind of weird,” Diego Castro ‘24 said. 

After seeing reactions online, most fans agreed that it took a bit for the album to grow on them; but once it did, they kept going back and discovering more and more.

“I’ve been a fan of The Weeknd for a few years, so when he announced the new album I was really excited about it. When I first listened to the whole album I wasn’t very impressed, but when I listened to it more, I knew it would grow on me,” Juliana Ross said.

The album, as a whole, is stepping into a new direction and whether or not the Weeknd will keep going in that direction is something we will see in his next album. Trying something new for something as big as an album can be risky — but “Dawn FM” was received fairly well.

Maybe, we will see more like it in the future.