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A new dawn

Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd is a bonafide pop-star who has come a long way from his early days of erotic lyricism and penchant for anonymity to embrace his star status. His previous album After Hourssaw him slip into the role of a pop icon with aplomb.

The new record, Dawn FM,  was released with none of the fanfare that we have come to associate with the artiste. There is a sombre allure that interplays with the dark-synth, euphoric rhythm as well as the artiste’s extreme themes. In Dawn FM, we see Abel as someone who is afraid and concerned about the decadence and the excesses of fame and life in the spotlight. While After Hours embraced the debauchery of his dark persona, this album inverts the idea and speaks volumes of his idea of annihilation of self and fears — take, for instance, songs like Gasoline, where he talks about setting himself on fire, and Sacrifice, where he expresses his thoughts on relationships.

The album in many ways is a concept piece where he relays the idea of a contemporary adult radio station, 103.5 Dawn FM that takes the listener through his meaning of life and the looming terror of experiencing it. The album has surprising collaborations like Tyler, The Creator on Here we go… again with his signature quirkiness, I heard you’re married with Lil Wayne and a short excerpt on life by the legendary producer Quincy Jones. The highlight is the Jim Carrey voiceover as the radio presenter on 103.5 Dawn FM that runs throughout the album. Carrey ends the album on a subdued tone with Phantom regret that echoes the feelings of most of us during these absurd times. 

The album has all the elements of a classic RnB album, which intersperse this otherwise synth-filled reverie. Abel, when speaking of this record, said that it is like listening to the radio while cruising through a tunnel. The tunnel is purgatory and the light at its end is death. The idea of Dawn FM is annihilation, and destruction never sounded this groovy.
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