The Weeknd is back with more music. After months of anticipation, Abel Tesfaye has announced that his new album will be dropping this Friday – January 7. Continuing the story he created for After Hours, Dawn FM will hopefully answer some questions and will definitely give us another list of songs to vibe to. Because there’s nothing like spending a weekend listening to The Weeknd – here’s what we know about Dawn FM.
It was a typically cryptic announcement from Tesfaye this week in a tweet reading, “new album : dawn FM // january 7th.” The newest album titled Dawn FM will be a follow-up to 2020’s wildly popular After Hours, and looks to continue the story he told throughout his first album. Because The Weeknd is as much a performer as he is an artist, it’s all about the presentation.
Unlike many albums that drop a number of singles before the release, Dawn FM arrives with only one single released to give a hint as to the vibe inside the album. “Take My Breath” dropped in August, and people were instantly drawn to the brooding and soulful sound. While we can’t be sure what’s to come, because it’s Tesfaye we know it’s going to be amazing. In a(nother) cryptic message, Tesfayre shared a text change on Instagram with just a hint of what the new album may embrace. In a text message to, “La Mar,” Tesfaye is asked, “Happy New Year brother! What we thinking ??” to which he responds, “Happy new year! Everything feels chaotic again. Music can heal and that feels more important than another album rollout. Let’s just drop the whole thing and enjoy it with the people… XO.”
In an Instagram story, Tesfaye gave a nod to his pal Jim Carrey. Tesfaye wrote, “Thank you for being a part of this. It’s kismet. Full circle,” in response to an online post from Carrey that read, “I listened to Dawn FM with my good friend Abel @theweeknd last night. It was deep and elegant and it danced me around the room. I’m thrilled to play a part in his symphony.” Jim Carrey’s in, you say?
So Tesfaye sees the world falling to chaos (again) and hopes to heal us with some music? We believe he can do it.
One of the most important components about the impending album release is the teaser trailer he dropped with his announcement about the release date. The 1-minute teaser opens with an image of Tesfaye and some cryptic imagery of people in robes, a car crash – and text explaining, “A new sonic universe from the mind of the The Weeknd.” With the artist’s signature smooth synth vibes playing in the background, the video then show’s The Weeknd’s album character being dragged by the black-robed characters.
Carrey, Quincy Jones, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne and Oneohtrix Point Never are credited in the video – but it’s not revealed how they have contributed to the album. The video shows flashes of symbolism and story – the blonde woman, another robed character this time in red. A voiceover smoothly cuts in, “You are now listening to 103.5 Dawn FM. You’ve been in the dark for way too long, it’s time to walk into the light and accept your fate with open arms.” At this point in the trailer the beat drops and you can hear Tesfaye’s buttery smooth vocals.
What does it all mean? We have no idea – yet. But it promises to be more of Tesfaye’s incredible lyrical storytelling, and we are here for it.
This is Tesfaye’s first album since 2020, and it comes just as his song “Blinding Lights” reaches an incredible milestone. In November, The Weeknd’s, “Blinding Lights,” single reached number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of All Time. To take the spot, it had to knock Chubby Checker‘s, “The Twist,” off the throne. That’s a remarkable feat for an artist who wasn’t even given a nod in the 2021 Grammy nominations.
Tesfaye was shut out of the secret committee nominations that chose the songs and artists for the 2021 Grammys, despite being one of the biggest albums of the year and the most-streamed single with, “Blinding Lights.” Tesfaye blasted the cold shoulder, calling the Grammy nominating committee, “Corrupt” and vowing not to submit any more music for their consideration. Other artists such as Drake stood up for Tesfaye – suggesting that racism likely played a part in his snub. In response, the Grammy’s organizers announced that they would be eliminating the secret nomination committees and Tesfaye said it was a good move that would start the process of restoring trust – but that he still wanted nothing to do with them.
Whether the Grammys cares to acknowledge Tesfaye’s indomitable character and ability to seize the top spots in charts and hearts, Dawn FM is sure to be one of the hottest albums of the year. And if Tesfaye decided to forgo the fanfare and just get his music out to people because it’s what they need right now – well, that’s completely on brand.