The Weeknd makes the sound of purgatory well on “Dawn FM.” But it is still purgatory.

This guy again. “The last few months you’ve worked with me, baby,” Coz Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, aka certain objective data, is the single biggest pop star for what I will derisively (but also objectively) refer to as the pandemic era. LMAO in all of that, and the idea of ​​The Weeknd’s self-improvement system in particular. You’d laugh at him outside the room – or out of the club, or out of town – if he didn’t look like that luxuriant, as he always does and as he always does, even after he has run out of anything substantial to say, which one could say he already has.

Although the essence is overstated, it’s ironic that luxury pop music can no longer afford it here on the cusp of the third year of the (I’m sorry about this, but it’s true) pandemic era.

What we got here is a new album called The Weeknd Dawn FMIt was announced Monday and released on Friday. And God bless him, honestly, because he didn’t expose us to a grueling months-long promotional campaign before the release, given how detailed his album ideas were and (a few months later, anyway).

Here, then, are the lowest stakes but potentially a higher quality successor to the March 2020 movies After hours, which unceremoniously launched the Pandemic Age and gave the world “blind lights” (which painting It now considers itself the biggest Hot 100 single in the 63-year history of this chart). Ah yes: After hours There was a grueling months-long advertising campaign that made everyone tired of seeing Tesfai’s brilliantly bandaged face. Or maybe it’s just me. The fact that “Blinding Lights” is the biggest pop song in world history suggests that maybe it was just me. Daniel Craig, for example, was so interested in all of that, you’ll probably be reminded on Twitter every Friday.

Dawn FMThis concept is somehow more elaborate and less stifling. Title of this album Refers to the radio station (103.5 Dawn FM) being played in the car in the tunnel in traffic that you get stuck in after your death. indeed. Jim Carrey plays the DJ. Tesfaye himself is depicted on the album cover as a scary old man in gray and existentially dizzying, like the ’80s pop version of Mahershala Ali in Season 3 of real detective. The joke is that, aside from that elaborate framing, Dawn FMThe songs are the same three to five things all of The Weeknd’s songs are about. As the Purgatory concept albums go, it’s honestly a good joke.

Well, start with a lavish slow pop-R&B song called “Out of Time,” the subtle bass line and ghostly flute treble reeling just as The Weeknd sings his (almost) 10,000th song about how he loved but blew it away with his faraway, charismatic, and self-destructive demeanor. “Say I love you girl, but time is running out,” says the chorus, and the lively (a gritty hologram recreation of Michael Jackson) Thriller, as usual) pure, and Tesfaye’s injured falsetto is more wounded than ever. The whole first verse:

The last few months you’ve been working on me, baby
There are many traumas in my life
I have been so cold towards those who loved me, my love
I look back now and realize

These lines are preceded by a comma between the pronunciations of anything else Thriller Superproducer Quincy Jones, who remembers being 7 years old and watching his mother taken out of his house in a handcuffed jacket and institutionalized and soon replaced by the “evil stepmother,” harrowing formative experiences that will later play Jones’ attempts to find Love and raise his children. “Whenever I got close to a woman, I would cut her off,” he said wistfully. “Part of that was revenge, and part based on fear.” It’s all more specific, shock-wise, than anything The Weeknd sings about Dawn FMI participated so hard and now I’m sad but let’s celebrate some more Tesfaye’s dominant lyrical status remains – but that’s purgatory for you.

The following track is a boring little jam and bragging from the ’80s called “Here We Go…Again”, which I really enjoy hating on from that stupid omission to the bottom. Want details? I asked about them:

Take a stand with my relatives
The front page of billboards
Suit, tie and cigar smoke
Macallan shots to scald the throat
We’re still celebrating the Super Bowl

The catalog you are looking at is legendary
The ring froze like February
XO, this is a mercenary
A quarter of an invoice in a year
Used to sing on the lofts
But now we’re sailing on a yacht, we’re clear

then he scolds his ex-girlfriend (who “ended up being a very simple person”); Then he sang several times “My new girl, she’s a movie star”. Then he adds: “When I make her laugh, I swear it cures my frustrated thoughts”; Then Tyler, the creator, drops into a mercifully short, abridged poem that ends by saying, “You’re going to ‘sign this preamble’ a few times. I hate this song, but I respect it. I really dig a lot from the rest.” Dawn FM How little I have to think about it.

I was 2021 on the weekend? As he notes, he’s played the Super Bowl, and seriously, Daniel Craig’s tweet still appears every Friday, and After hours He proved to be pretty dominant on broadcasting especially as Tesfaye justifiably stirred up hell when the Grammys totally shrugged. is being Catalog looking legendary? Tesfaye’s entire career arc — from obscure R&B rebel to temporary pop star to not-so-temporary pop star at all — remains bewildering and fascinating to behold, even if it leaves him nowhere else to go. Dawn FM He also polishes his cocaine-dust view of R&B’s idyllic, opulent past and the hopelessly dystopian present of pop music, and the familiar, unsettling whistles and hooks and tattered hooks often provided by producer and writer Daniel Lopatin, aka experimental con artist Oneohtrix Point Never, who succeeded Here in the crafting of shocking pop music that sounds 4 percent weirder and more disturbing than you might expect.

I’m, for example, pretty much immersed in the robo-funk of “Gasoline”, which kicks off Dawn FM By raising Tesfaye’s voice to a monotonous, intermittent tone (“It’s five in the morning, I’m high again, and you can see I’m in pain”) before he sings a more gentle chorus around lighting his dead body a fire. I’m more interested in “Less Than Zero,” which concludes the album with a more triumphant nod from the Reagan era, right down to the compulsive chant to accompany the keynotes and Brett Easton Ellis invoking the song’s title. It’s the closest thing this record has to a “blind spotlight” – smashing the caliber. Once again, pop star friends like Max Martin and Swedish House Mafia come to gift Tesfaye with monster hooks (“Take My Breath” is the sexiest) and the brightest possible chests of his trademark lovable nihilism (“You sacrificed your love for more night,” the chorus goes sparkling to “sacrifice”). But this record is lighter on its feet than After hours Even when he also starts to draw. (The hook that draws attention to “best friends”—”you don’t want sex as friends anymore”—is in a less attractive way.)

He has nothing else to say, but he never tires of saying it anyway, and we don’t seem to get tired of hearing it. “I don’t deserve someone loyal to me,” he groans for what appears to be the 500th time amid the drowsy extravagance of “Is there someone else?” , who falls asleep before he can answer his question. “I Heard You’re Married” is a fun reverse exercise – “Jolene” (“It hurts you to think I’m sharing you,” Tesfaye coos) with Lil Wayne’s most adorable verse (“Tell my husband I’m going to kill him for him, there’s no hub cap,” Weezy concludes) . “How do I make you love me” works itself in the air rocky Training Madness Montage Even if Abby doesn’t have real concrete ideas on how to make you love him even further, “I’m going to fix mushroom tea/And cross the turbulent sea.” It might work, think about it.

I honestly think Weekend + Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the most unexpected and thus most exciting syndicates in modern pop, catchy enough for the Super Bowl, but wet and dreary enough for any underground cave Tesfaye wants to convince you he’s still sinking in a . Dawn FM In the end, he feels slight and transitional, despite all the bravado of our master and savior Jim Carrey as he sways like self-help Dr. Seuss as the record ends with a track titled “Phantom of Jim’s Regret”:

How many grudges have you carried to your grave?
When you weren’t liked or followed, how did you act?
Have you often played an opposing chord?
Were you in tune with the song that life was humming?

A disturbing proportion of the world is still in tune with The Weeknd’s song. Tags are everywhere. Did you hear that Kanye West and Julia Fox are dating? Julia Fox, star of The Weeknd’s Uncut Gemstones? Yes, for their second date, she and Ye met in New York City and watched slave play She marveled at the clothes he had bought her for the hotel suite. Lotsa Pictures. I guess I will always remember Dawn FM Like the album released the same night, most of the world found out about it – it’s the most fresh weekend album imaginable. Take this however you like. The feelings are kinda gross, but I wish them well. Everything that connects you during the third year.

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