For much of the past two years, the pandemic has forced the music industry to adapt to the state of the world, with the modification of live events and postponement of countless tours.
Few artists have been able to emerge from the pandemic as successfully as The Weeknd. His record-breaking album After Hours had an ill-timed release in April 2020, yet the Canadian hitmaker performed hits like “Blinding Lights” at the Super Bowl halftime show the following year. And now, less than a year after taking one of the biggest stages in the world, The Weeknd is back with Dawn FM, an album birthed entirely out of the past two years.
The Weeknd teased Dawn FM’s release calling it a “sonic universe,” and it’s an accurate description for the nearly hourlong project. To bring his vision to life, he recruited his good friend Jim Carrey — not to sing, but to act as the host on his fictional radio station 103.5 Dawn FM. In addition to the album being filled with refreshing new ways of experiencing The Weeknd, the same can be said for Carrey’s performance: normally known for his over-the-top antics on screen, he plays the role of smooth-talking radio personality incredibly well.
Dawn FM holds a special place in The Weeknd’s heart, telling GQ last summer “It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make.” No stone is left unturned sonically, as he jumps between sinful synth-pop and longing R&B with ease. On top of welcoming Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne as guest performers on the project, the tracklist also includes an interlude featuring Quincy Jones and a thought-provoking closing monologue delivered by Carrey.
The Weeknd has fully come into his own on Dawn FM, and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. His upcoming After Hours ‘til Dawn tour will take him to arenas around the world in 2022 to finally perform songs from his two pandemic albums live. But don’t expect several years to pass between now and his next project.
“What makes any of my albums a successful album, especially [Dawn FM], is me putting it out and getting excited to make the next one. So the excitement to make the next project means that this one was successful to me,” he said proudly. “I want to do this forever.”