The Weeknd dawns listeners with a groove

Canadian singer releases album after a two-year hiatus

Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye releases highly anticipated album featuring collaborations with rappers Tyler the Creator and Lil Wayne as well as actor Jim Carrey.

Photo courtesy of

Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye releases highly anticipated album featuring collaborations with rappers Tyler the Creator and Lil Wayne as well as actor Jim Carrey.

Miguel Paredes Reyes, MWHS Wildcat News co-Editor-in-Chief, co-Striv Executive Producer

Singer-songwriter Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye released his highly anticipated fifth studio album, “Dawn FM,”  on Friday, Jan. 7, after an unusual rollout and promotional method. 

Usually, artists promote their albums with much anticipation and put out multiple singles, but Tesfaye posted about the release date only four days before the album came out and put out just one song, “Take My Breath,” in August. 

The album is 16 tracks long, which is pretty consistent with his previous projects. It includes three prominent features: Tyler “the Creator” Okonma, Lil Wayne and actor Jim Carrey. 

The album kicked off with the title track “Dawn FM” like a kick intro, with angelic vocals from Tesfaye. Carrey played a radio host character that made a few appearances throughout the album, which gave the album a retro feel which matches the 80s synth-pop sound he has used a lot recently. 

The intro transitions into the first traditional track of the album: “Gasoline.” In this song, we see The Weeknd use a completely different tone of voice than we are used to. His typical smooth falsetto vocals are replaced by a low and darker tone as he sings about a codependent, toxic relationship he found himself in. This relationship contributed to an erratic drug problem as he tried to cope with the dependency he had toward this person. 

He stays consistent with the subject matter in the next song “How Do I Make You Love Me?” Tesfaye sang about wanting so desperately to have someone fall in love with them as he stated specifically in the pre-chorus “It’s quite unusual, Seekin’ approval, Beggin’ for it desperately, I said” before the chorus repeats “How do I make you love me” in a very 80s pop sound that totally works. 

The end of the previous song seamlessly transitioned into “Take My Breath” as if it were the same song. This version of the song is different from the one that was released as a single for the album as this one is much longer with drawn-out instrumentals at the beginning and end of the track. While I personally preferred the shorter, much quicker-paced version, the consensus among fans is that the extended version of the song is much better and fits the theme of the album better. 

In “Sacrifice,” The Weeknd did a complete 180 in his subject matter. Throughout the album so far he has been chasing this girl and begging to have her. Now it seems like she wants him, but he isn’t having it. “Uh, every time you try to fix me, I know you’ll never find that missing piece, When you cry and say you miss me, I lie and tell you that I’ll never leave, but I sacrificed, Your love for more of the night, I try to put up a fight, Can’t tie me down.” In terms of how it sounded, this is the best song on the album out of the first few tracks. While the album has been fairly slow paced, the upbeat instrumentation combined with Tesfaye’s vocals and the mixing on his voice made it a perfect song to get you in a groove. 

In “Out of Time,” The Weeknd went back to the theme of wanting a girl but not being able to get her. The chorus was the best part of the song as his vocals are sung so passionately you could hear the pain in his voice. The track ended with Carrey coming back to mark the halfway point of the album.

Tesfaye changed up the subject matter in “Here We Go… Again.” Instead of the typical love and break up song, he bragged about all his accomplishments and success over a slow moving instrumental. He talked about performing in the Super Bowl, making a quarter of a million dollars on an off year and making boyfriends jealous when they take pictures with their girls. Okanma made his appearance with a short verse that seemed out of place in his delivery and his subject matter. He didn’t contribute much to the song, his lyrics were off topic and the whole vibe of his verse changed up the tone for the track

The toxic love continued on “Best Friends,” but similar to “Sacrifice,” it’s Tesfaye who rejected and friend zoned the girl. The song had a hard baseline mixed with the synths in the background was amazing and he killed the chorus as usual. 

“Is There Someone Else?” and “Starry Eyes” were essentially the same song as they gave off the similar tone and subject matter and had a seamless transition as if it were one song. He was back to chasing the girl in both songs, and they are pretty similar lyrically to almost all of the previous songs before this one. This repetition is all over the album and while just casually listening it doesn’t take away from the album, when you really listen to what he’s saying every song sounds the same.Especially when he has shown he has the capability to make songs with deep lyrical meaning while also sounding great like “In The Night”,“Call Out My Name” and “Sidewalks” off previous albums.

“Don’t Break My Heart” followed the same theme as before, while the lyrics could hint that the girl he was chasing is actually substances he has abused before. He mentioned in the lyrics how he kept coming back for more and he described it as paralyzing which has been used to describe withdrawal symptoms for addiction. I love when he has songs like these when he disguises a deeper meaning with what sounds like a typical love song on the first listen. It shows off his creative song writing that I wish was more prevalent on the album.

In “I Heard You’re Married Girl,” he found himself heartbroken that the girl he has been with is actually married and cheating on her husband with him. There are rumors this sound could be about actress Ariana Grande as she was recently married in private, and her and Tesfaye have been rumored to be a thing in the past. Wayne’s contribution, unlike Okanma’s, actually followed the theme of the song although it might not have sounded the best, it fit fairly well. 

The last singing track of the album, “Less Than Zero,” Tesfaye vocalizes about a girl who perceives him as less than zero. This was one of the best sounding songs on the album with the synths and the harmonization on the chorus. The song ended with a basic acoustic melody that did what it needed because the Weeknd carried it the rest of the way.

I loved the way the album sounded. The production was exceptional on every song and vocally Tesfaye did what he always has done on almost every song he has ever released with amazing permonces all over the album. The one problem I had with the album was that lyrically it is nothing new. While his storytelling is great, it’s the same thing he has always written about. He was either chasing a girl, breaking up with a girl or getting broken up with by a girl. The only song that wasn’t about love was “Here We Go… Again” and even then he mentioned love in it. The 80s sound worked better than it did on his previous album, “After Hours.” Even though the subject matter is the same throughout, it’s still an amazing album that I will have on repeat until his next big release. ⅘