The Weeknd recently released an interesting new LP called Dawn FM. I heard it was coming, ironically on the FM radio, and admittedly felt a twinge of if not excitement, definitely anticipation.
Last night I gave it whirl in the wee small hours of the morning, stopping about halfway. I resumed in the light-of-day morning. So in keeping with the lp, I was more or less in sync, temporally that is.
I liked it more in the wee small hours. Not sure if that’s because the first half is better or because I am more open in the middle of the night.
This is a concept album, not unlike the aforementioned Frank Sinatra record. Some say, incidentally, that Sinatra was the very first to do a “concept album” but I’m not sure about that.
I admire The Weeknd’s willingness to change and take chances. This album is different from his other stuff.
I don’t know if it will generate a hit or not. Maybe it already has. But some of the tunes, especially in the first half got me thinking, This guy is a genius.
When I first heard “I’m a M-F Starboy” a few years ago, it was something of a revelation for me. I liked that tune so much I blogged about it.
And pretty well everything else that follows from this artist has caught my attention.
Dawn FM is no exception.
Falling somewhere between the Toronto announcer for Televised Catholic Mass and a funeral eulogy, a creepy mock FM DJ runs through the album.
This is preachin’ from purgatory. Not hell. But certainly not heaven. And I really dig that as an artistic statement. Not to blow my own horn but honestly, I did stuff like this back in the early 90s on a Fostex 4-track, around the time the Weeknd was literally born. My stuff was quirky and I liked it. But the brilliance of the Weeknd is that he can take the murky afterlife theme and market it for the masses.
I’m jealous! 😂
The creepy DJ ends by saying that to get into heaven we must be heaven. And I’m not sure I quite agree with that. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics or interpretation, but I would say we need to be worthy of heaven. Not to be heaven.
Final note on this album – The DJ idea is pretty cool and works well for a spin. But on second listening, it’s already tired. What can you do? Since nobody buys CDs anymore, I guess it doesn’t really matter.
Dawn FM is a bit like one of those Netflix series you are supposed to like because it’s Netflix. But soon after consuming you need to go to other platforms to get what you need.
I don’t rate albums with numbers or stars. But I think this is a worthy effort. The integrated DJ theme will probably be the lasting influence here. Although come to think of it, other geniuses like Frank Zappa flirted with similar ideas (“I am The Slime“).