Critics’ Corner: Music Review – Dawn FM


Julian Knapp, Staff Reporter, Sophomore

The Weeknd’s fifth studio album Dawn FM dropped January 7, and just over one month later has reached number one on Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart. The album comes after the singer scrapped his pandemic era work because it was too dreary, starting over to produce this concept album about going through purgatory before getting to heaven. That might sound dreary too, but the album’s light synth pop is more dreamy than dreary, despite its topics of depression, anxiety, and regrets. The Weeknd takes listeners along for the ride, narrated at the beginning and end by Jim Carrey.

The idea of a concept album seems to be popular these days (see review of Adele’s 30 in the last issue), and it’s even more obvious on this album because of Jim Carrey’s narration. He acts as a radio announcer on a fictional station and says, “relax and enjoy another hour of free yourself music on 103.5 Dawn FM.” Along with Carrey’s voice we hear synths that sound like birds chirping at dawn, signaling the beginning of this journey.

The rest of the tracks include a lot of synths that were borrowed from several genres of music. One thing noticed in all of the album’s tracks is the synth, used to create different feelings of emotion throughout each song in the album. There are multiple collaborations on this album with Jim Carrey, Quincy Jones, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne and Oneohtrix Point Never.

As Rolling Stone reported, “The album “is about boundless freedoms,” and is “self-help for the selfie set.”

The Weeknd said the album “is about people stuck in purgatory, which I always imagined would be like being stuck in traffic.”

Overall, I think the album is synth-filled and dreamy. The title Dawn FM makes it sound like you’re waking up from a dream, the album cover depicting The Weeknd as an old man further adds to the drama.