• STYLE /Synthpop, Future Funk
  • RELEASE DATE /January 07, 2022
  • LABEL /XO, Republic Records
  • GUESTSTyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, Jim Carrey, Swedish House Mafia, Quincy Jones, Calvin Harris
  • DESIGNERS /Matilda Finn, Mike Marino
  • FORMAT /Digital, Compact Disc, Vinyl

RSW rating ➔

¦ 9/10 ¦
Incredible LP

Our Few Words

It might, or might not, come as a surprise that we are reviewing The Weeknd’s new album Dawn FM. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years we saw Blinding Lights rose to global popularity which it could be argued is a synthwave track. The synthwave aesthetic is gradually growing into the mainstream that provides the counter argument of synthwave being dead. However, the focus will revert back to Dawn FM which does feature Tyler The Creator, Lil Wayne and even Jim Carrey as the radio presenter throughout the album. After Hours is a difficult album to beat for The Weeknd and we are looking to see if Dawn FM can knock it off it’s perch. It is a concept album based on the listener being dead, but stuck in a purgatory state.

The self titled introduction is a great build up for the album which introduces the ever loveable Jim Carrey. Gasoline is a song focused on depression and intoxication which is more interesting than the music. How Do I Make You Love Me? Is beautifully upbeat and when the chorus kicks in it’s shows a prominent display of power and affection. Take My Breath, released as a single, already showcases it’s quality and commitment to the synthwave sound in the same vain as Blinding Lights. Sacrifice brings a funk element that links together with The Weeknd’s ability of writing an eye-watering catchy song. A Tale By Quincy, featuring Quincy Jones, is a spoken word interlude about reminiscing childhood trauma memories. Out Of Time is a ballad of sorts screeching synth pop glory. Here We Go… Again, with Tyler The Creator, continues the ballad vibes.

Best Friends brings hip hop into the mix and kicks it up a notch when taking a step from the first half of the album when it comes to music style. Is Their Someone Else? Is a sad song with synth smoothness which is probably the most complete synthwave song on Dawn FM so far. Starry Eyes is a imminent transition that keeps the same synthwave theme and momentum. Every Angel Is Terrifying has heavy Depeche Mode vibes before the spoken word poem with amazing vocal harmonies giving it the church vibes followed by an 80s styled movie radio review. Don’t Break My Heart is nice sad boi synth pop which is about , well, heartbreak (informative, I know). I Heard You’re Married, featuring Lil Wayne, is stupidly catchy, but the poorly autotuned rap from Lil Wayne takes the quality away from the song. Less Than Zero has this admirable Buggles feel to it until the theatrtric chorus comes in. Phantom Regret By Jim is a bittersweet end to Dawn FM but Jim Carrey is wonderfully poetic and shows his acting capabilities without a screen.

Dawn FM is an incredible concept album which has far heavier fluency than After Hours. The first half of the album is sheer perfection, but the second half, not awful by any means does slow that momentum down. Dawn FM is well worth it’s weight in gold and shows The Weeknd’s creativity is completely untouchable in mainstream music right now. Reviewing this with synthwave mentality there is plenty here to really like and it’s well worth it if you like experimentation to your synthwave needs. It is a completely accomplished and polished album, not to the extent that After Hours was, but it’s adventurous and insanely addictive. Dawn FM is a must have for any fan of co cept albums and genre bending music fitting to a synthwave template.

– Matthew Clewley
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