TRACK BY TRACK: The Weeknd's 'Dawn FM'
Futuristic music, '80s vibes, Jim Carrey and… "Stranger Things"?! The Weeknd just released his fifth studio album Dawn FM and we got so much to talk about! Let's break it all down, shall we?
1. "Dawn FM"
With the first track, "Dawn FM", we skyrocket (maybe even literally) into an intergalactic feel for the start of the album. The music rises in tension with euphoric synths, and then we are moved to none other than Jim Carrey talking from a radio station from 103.5 Dawn FM as an outro. Wait, what?! There’s already so much intrigue from this first track that sets off the rest of the album.
Favorite lyrics: “‘Cause after the light is it dark? / Is it dark all alone?”
Before I review this track, can I just say the transition from "Dawn FM" to "Gasoline" was so smooth?! The intro is definitely also futuristic, giving off '80s, groovy electropop vibes as The Weeknd sings in a lower register then sings in a regular register as we all know him. From the lyrics, this song may allude to a toxic relationship with a past lover.
Favorite lyrics: “Around, around, around, around we go / In this game called life, we are not free...”
3. "How Do I Make You Love Me?"
Right off the bat, this track has dance party beats with great bass thumps and powerful synths. From lower register to a higher, melodic register, The Weeknd doesn’t miss in this one. The instrumentation is strong on this track, and it definitely is near the top in terms of favorites from the Dawn FM album. This song seems as if it can be about questioning what one can do in a relationship to make it last, make it better, or, as the title says, make the other person love them.
Favorite lyrics: “How do I make you love me? / How do I make you fall for me?”
4. "Take My Breath"
The intro for "Take My Breath" definitely calls back to '80s electro music, with cool, synth patterns in another groovy beat. From the lyrics, it seems that it’s about fantasizing being with someone, feeling the sparks, and hoping they’ll “take their breath” -- but in a good way, of course!
This song definitely reminds me of driving down a highway at night in another dimension, with disco-funk feels throughout. This song may be about not wanting to sacrifice oneself for the happiness of another and accepting the fact that they are on their own. Pretty relatable, I think!
Favorite lyrics: “I was born in a city / Where the winter nights don’t ever sleep / So this life’s always with me / The ice inside my veins will never bleed...”
6. "A Tale By Quincy"
Rather than a song, this track is a monologue by Quincy Jones reflecting on life and past relationships with love and women. It’s a shift from the other tracks, providing an outside perspective from The Weeknd’s thoughts.
Favorite lyrics/words: “Looking back now, I didn’t know what it was supposed to be...”
7. "Out of Time"
Another quick, smooth transition from "A Tale By Quincy", "Out of Time" is a shift from the other songs, slower with The Weeknd singing in a regular register and another outro from Jim Carrey. From the lyrics, it seems one has recognized their mistakes and asks for a second chance from their lover, but they may just be “out of time”. Listening to this again, it has moved up towards the top in terms of favorites.
Favorite lyrics: “You begged me with your drowning eyes to stay / And I regret I didn’t tell you...”
8. "Here We Go… Again" (ft. Tyler the Creator)
And yet another seamless transition! This song definitely reminds me the most of some of The Weeknd’s older music and albums, giving a sense of nostalgia. Featuring Tyler the Creator, the two sing about more complications of love and being in a relationship with someone who has fame.
Favorite lyrics: “I told myself that I'd never fall / But here we go again...”
9. "Best Friends"
Another song that has climbed to the top of my favorites after re-listening, this song also reminds me of some of The Weeknd’s older music, with bass instrumentation and great vocals. This song may be about falling for a best friend but not wanting to get too close.
Favorite lyrics: “You're my best friend now / Oh, I don't want to be responsible / For your heart if we fall...”
10. "Is There Someone Else?"
One of my favorites after first hearing the entire album, "Is There Someone Else?" is a beautifully composed song of vocals and instrumentation that is futuristic yet at the same time still contemporary as the lyrics ground the track back to reality. With a R&B rhythm, it has a very smooth and cool touch to it as well. This song may be about unfaithfulness from a partner.
Favorite lyrics: “Oh, is there someone else or not? / 'Cause I wanna keep you close / I don't wanna lose my spot...”
11. "Starry Eyes"
Another slower song from Dawn FM, "Starry Eyes" is perhaps one of the more emotional songs from the entire album, being very passionate, heartfelt, and authentic, without too much added instrumentation and mainly focusing on vocals. From the lyrics, it may allude to being ready to commit in a relationship with someone after learning about love from experience.
Favorite lyrics: “Let me be there, let me be there for your heart / Let me be there, I can be there until you're whole...”
12. "Every Angel Is Terrifying"
First of all, can I just say… what in the "Stranger Things" is this intro?! The similarity between this and the "Stranger Things" theme music is so surreal, I can definitely see this song in the next season! From the synth chords and the monologue from Jim Carrey, this absolutely sounds like something to see on television screens. Petition for The Weeknd to be part of the soundtrack please?! This song has a rather interesting interpretation, in the portrayal of angels in that not all are beautiful beings, and some can actually be “terrifying”. This definitely sounds like “there’s two sides to every story” type of scenario.
Favorite lyrics: “For beauty is the terror we endure / While we stand and wonder, we're annihilated...”
13. "Don’t Break My Heart"
Another electropop song from the album, the chorus of this is perhaps one of the strongest aspects. It is definitely catchy and the song is groovy with an euphoric-filled beat. This can definitely be about the stage of having a crush and the mesmerization from the entire experience.
Favorite lyrics: “And I could be the one you want / Just as long as you don't break my heart...”
14. "I Heard You’re Married"
With a disco groove and funky bass, this song is also pretty catchy, and I’m even getting some Bruno Mars vibes. Possible collaboration in the future? Just from the title of the song alone, this can relate to being (or wanting to be) with someone who is already taken, possibly even married.
Favorite lyrics: “You're too deceiving, girl, oh (ooh, yeah) / I can't be with you...”
15. "Less Than Zero"
Why can I picture this song in an upcoming YA movie?! Riding down a sunny road on bikes, yup, I can definitely see this in a new rom-com film! Which is definitely not a bad thing. After relistening again, I can also say that this song soared to one of my top favorites as well. This song may be about being romantically involved with someone who now sees them as “less than zero”.
Favorite lyrics: “Remember I was your hero, yeah / I'd wear your heart out like a symbol / I couldn't save you from my darkest truth of all...”
16. "Phantom Regret by Jim"
And we’re up to the last track! "Phantom Regret by Jim" wraps up the entire album in a reflective monologue, making listeners really listen and relate to their own personal experiences about time and regret and experiences. It is definitely such a strong closing to a powerful album. This monologue calls to listeners stuck in their own journeys and gives them hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel after learning their lessons.
Favorite lyrics/words: “Were you ever in tune with the song life was humming?”
Well, there you have it! I love how versatile this album is in different styles and vibes! I can’t wait to see what music videos The Weeknd will release for each of these songs, particularly, “Every Angel is Terrifying”. Will we get a "Stranger Things" cameo? Let’s stay tuned and keep hitting rewind!