Why The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” Has Failed to Meet Expectations

Why The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” Has Failed to Meet Expectations

Zach Sevart, Staff Writer

After only a week into the new year, American R&B artist The Weeknd has released his fifth studio album, “Dawn FM.” The announcement came only four days prior to the album’s release, differing largely from The Weeknd’s last studio album, “After Hours,” which was teased months before its release in March 2020. “After Hours” was a huge success, maintaining multiple Billboard top 100 songs into 2021 and 2022, which sets expectations for “Dawn FM” higher than usual. Regardless of these circumstances, The Weeknd fans are excited for the new project, which contains 16 songs and totals at 52 minutes. After listening to the album multiple times, I can say that this is a creative, yet repetitive project that has many highs, but also some notable lows.

The album starts off with the intro track “Dawn FM,” which is a slow, melodic song that uses lots of synths and electronic elements. A couple songs later, we hear “How Do I Make You Love Me?” and “Sacrifice,” both of which seem to come straight out of the 1980s with the use of electronic keyboards and 808 drum patterns, two very common aspects to 80’s electronic pop. Multiple songs seem to be heavily influenced by musician Michael Jackson, which is a new direction for The Weeknd, who has left his style of music unchanged for the majority of his career. “A Tale By Quincy” is an interlude of a man named Quincy who reminisces about his childhood without a mother and how it affected his childhood. He talks about how his relationships were always cut short as a result of being too afraid to lose a loved one again. Although I have yet to learn of the significance of this story, I think it adds onto the older music style to convey a theme of nostalgia.

With 16 songs on the album, there are only two featured artists that are credited on the album. One being from rapper Tyler, The Creator on the song “Here We Go…Again,” which only lasts for around 40 seconds, and another from rapper Lil Wayne on the song “I Heard You’re Married.” Although it isn’t common for The Weeknd to feature other artists on his projects, those included in “Dawn FM” are surprisingly underwhelming considering that both Tyler, The Creator and Lil Wayne always bring a unique type of energy to the songs they are featured on.

This brings me to my main issues with “Dawn FM.” The first being how repetitive most songs can be. Most songs on the album are produced well and experiment with 80s influence, but they are almost indistinguishable from one another. Certain songs like “Sacrifice” and “Out of Time” are stand out songs from the album, but a huge percentage of the other songs seem to lack any individuality from the rest. Once again, The Weeknd has never had to rely on features to increase the quality of his songs, but on an album where songs are very similar, it could help to include multiple artists that offer different music styles in order to improve enjoyability.

Overall, “Dawn FM” is enjoyable, with multiple songs that are likely to remain popular for the rest of the year, but its uniformity makes the album boring at times. The featured artists give below average performances which also adds to the mediocre experience. I would still highly recommend listening to the album, but I advise you to keep expectations low if you are expecting “Dawn FM” to be anywhere near as good as his previous albums.