Dawn FM by The Weeknd: The Best Album of 2022


Lauren Scisci, Staff Writer

At the beginning of this year, Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, commonly known by his stage name The Weeknd, released his stunning synth-pop album, titled Dawn FM. Dawn FM is meant to be the sequel to his previous album, After Hours, which includes his hit song Blinding Lights. With a total of 16 tracks, including features by Lil Wayne and Tyler, the Creator as well as narration by Jim Carrey, Dawn FM was one of the most unique albums released this year and holds the title of the best album of 2022. 

Dawn FM isn’t just a compilation of song-sit tells a story through a fake radio station: 103.5 Dawn FM. Dawn FM goes through the feeling of helplessness as you are intended to be listening to this album while in purgatory, thinking about everything you have felt throughout life and death. After every few songs the radio host, Jim Carrey, eerily comes back onto the station on top of a distorted background song to warn you that your time is almost up and you don’t have to feel these dark feelings anymore, awaiting the painful release of death (the end of the album) before smoothly transitioning its way onto the next song. 103.5 Dawn FM is there for you to help you look back and reflect on what happened in your life, what comes next, and how to get there.

Even though the theme of this album is quite grim, it is filled with catchy ’80s-style music that is bound to get stuck in your head. Out of Time, the seventh track on the album, (and easily one of my favorites) focuses on all of the regrets The Weeknd has about spending time on things other than his lover, eventually losing her. Dawn FM also includes some ballads like Starry Eyed, a story about how a boy meets a broken girl that is hurting and suffering in life. He stays by her side no matter how she treats him because he understands her pain. 

My all-time favorite song on the album, however, is the 15th track, Less Than Zero, an upbeat song about how The Weeknd went from his lover’s hero to something less than zero. He follows this dark truth and feeling that is taking him over; he loses motivation to do anything about it, not wanting help anymore and yearning to be free from this feeling as he sings, “No, I can’t shake this feeling that crawls in my bed. I try to hide it but I know you know me, I try to fight it, but I’d rather be free.” After 3 minutes and 15 seconds of fighting this feeling–symbolized by the happy beat of the song–the tempo slows down and the rest is sung as a ballad, symbolizing that his grief and emotions have taken over and he finally realizes what he wants, leading into the final goodbye.

After 15 tracks of pain, regret, guilt, and suffering, you are met with the last track: Phantom Regret by Jim, in which Jim Carrey gives you a final sendoff, telling you that Heaven isn’t a place where you go to forget your regrets, but you have to forget your regrets to live peacefully in Heaven, “You gotta be Heaven to see Heaven.”

The Weeknd filled this album with raw emotion, guilt, regret, addiction, pain, and suffering but masked it with a good beat and instrumentals. This album can be one you cry to one day or dance to another, earning it the title of the best album of 2022.