“… did you know you’re experiencing a new trilogy?”


Alistair Clodi, Social Media Manager

After The Weeknd’s 2-year hiatus from releasing an album, the artist Abel Tesfaye finally returned with “Dawn FM.” Almost five months after dropping the album’s lead single “Take My Breath”, The Weeknd continues to reimagine the 1980s as a radio program. “Dawn FM” has the most cinematic sound that Tesfaye has ever had. Additionally, the artist stated on Twitter, “… did you know you’re experiencing a new trilogy?” 

The Weeknd has been the face of mainstream pop R&B for several years. His 2020 album, “After Hours,” is highly regarded as one of his most realized albums, depicting a complex story of his toxic love life. “Dawn FM”, the second installment of the ‘new trilogy’, grapples with Tesfaye’s post-relationship conflicts and guilt. The Weeknd is setting his series up as if “After Hours” is the death of his relationship and “Dawn FM” is the transition between death and the beyond.

The album starts with the titular track, “Dawn FM,” with a spiritual melody. But as the song continues, it slowly builds a dark undertone that suddenly introduces you to the narrator Jim Carrey. His voiceover and The Weeknd’s “103.5 Dawn FM!” lib at the end set the scene of a radio show.

The rest of the album falls into four acts. The first act deals with his desperate attempts to salvage a dying relationship. It’s packed with upbeat cuts, electronic instrumentation, and tales of taboo topics typical of Tesfaye’s work. This section’s details are so impactful, from the lyrical mumbling at the end of “Gasoline” to the vocals and guitar riffing in the build-up of “Take My Breath.” This first act houses the album’s most notorious songs, with some candidates to be the pop anthem of this next decade.

As you move into the second act, the album settles into a smoother groove. “Out of Time” depicts Tesfaye reflecting on his past relationship mistakes; he’s filled with regret, but now it’s too late. Despite its somber theme, the beautiful ballad and Tesfaye’s vocals hypnotize listeners.

The third act transports Tesfaye through his cycle of toxic relationships. “Here We Go … Again” with Tyler, the Creator, and “Best Friends” touch on The Weeknd’s new cautionary perspective on relationships due to past trauma and the inability to emotionally invest in a relationship.

“Is There Someone Else” and “Starry Eyes” are similar tracks but serve different purposes. “Is There Someone Else” portrays Tesfaye’s fear that his new partner is cheating. At the same time, the latter track has him falling head over heels for the girl of his dreams, though he also succumbs to a toxic mindset. It defines the conflicting tragic states of Tesfaye’s mind and loving someone but being hesitant due to the fear of getting hurt.

Coming off the album’s climax, the fourth act tackles the fated pain The Weeknd envisioned when entering a new relationship. Although “Don’t Break My Heart” and “I Heard You’re Married,” featuring Lil Wayne, add to the overall theme. In the past, Tesfaye participated in an unrestrained, party-animal lifestyle, unable to commit to a relationship. But now the tables are turned, and he gets a taste of his own medicine. This brings us to “Less Than Zero,” a reflection of the artist’s past choices and guilt and regret. He comes to realize that there’s nothing he can do to change his ex’s mind or what he’s done to hurt her.

This album does a fantastic job of detailing a sad but hopeful story. Through unusual instrumentation, all while creating a pop experience unmatched by any other major artist. Tesfaye’s euphoric voice is perfect for listening to for hours. Whether it’s playing while you are in the car, doing your homework, or lying on your bed staring at your ceiling at 3 in the morning.