This is the highly anticipated 5th album from Canadian singer/songwriter The Weeknd. Rising to stardom in the early 2010s with a trilogy of highly acclaimed mixtapes, he then made his full-length debut in 2013 with Kiss Land which was a decent attempt at symbolizing tour life. The sophomore effort Beauty Behind the Madness proved to be even better as it started to incorporate elements of pop, although Starboy ended up being another mixed bag much like Kiss Land except he embraced a more electropop sound. Abel’s debut EP My Dear Melancholy, though was a solid return to his alternative R&B roots & let’s not forget After Hours going on to becoming the best album of his career thus far in my opinion. Reasons being because of how much he artistically reinvented himself on there combined with the incredible portrayal of promiscuity as well as overindulgence & self-loathing. So given that, to say I was fiending for Dawn FM would be an understatement.
After the titular intro with fucking Jim Carrey playing a radio DJ, the first song “Gasoline” kicks off the whole thing in a quasi-techno territory talking about wanting to believer there’s more to life whereas the nu-disco tinged “How Do I Make You Love Me?” ponders on what it takes to achieve eternal love. “Take My Breath” has a bit of a French house influence to it talking about a woman who loves to be on the edge leading into “Sacrifice” samples Denroy Morgan to tell his lover not to be catching feelings out here.
After the “A Tale by Quincy” interlude, we have Abel in his funk bag for “Out of Time” admitting that he’s been working on himself just before “Here We Go…Again” brings in some bare synths talking about how life’s a dream & Tyler, The Creator’s verse on here actually comes off as half baked. “Best Friends” almost bares a synth-funk quality to it saying he & this woman can’t be close despite loving her, but then “Is There Someone Else?” is a slow jam confronting his lover asking if she’s cheating on him.
“Starry Eyes” sounds a bit similar to “Here We Go…Again” instrumentally excepting he’s singing about wanting to be there for the girl of his dreams & after the “Every Angel is Terrifying” interlude, “Don’t Break My Heart” showing a more vulnerable side saying he can’t take anymore heartbreak with some synthwave vibes. The track “I Heard You’re Married” with Lil Wayne finds the 2 patronizingly telling married women to leave their men for them over yet another synth-funk beat while the final song “Less Than 0” sounds very peppy sonically despite it’s depressing lyrics. “Phantom Regret” then ends the album with a spoken word interlude from Jim Carrey.
After Hours has quickly become The Weeknd’s best full-length album in a lot of people’s eyes including myself & Dawn FM is a great sequel to start the new year. Oneohtrix Point Never helps him dive further into a more synthpop based sound & I think the whole radio station concept of it is super neat.