The Weeknd teased new music early Monday morning in a snippet posted on social media called “The Dawn Is Coming” and talked generally about it in a new GQ article, calling it “the album I’ve always wanted to make.”
The song has a heavy electronic dance groove reminiscent of “Alive 2007”-era Daft Punk, but with the Weeknd’s haunting, echo-laden melody soaring over it.
The Weeknd teased the song with three days of hints (a wiped Instagram account followed by a new post and a song snippet), but new music has been expected for some time, especially since the long series of remixes, features and new songs that were released in the months following his blockbuster “After Hours” album came to an end with 2020.
He’s also changed up his look, his sleek recent tie and long black jacket giving way to leather, a beard and a fuller afro.
In an interview with Variety back in May, the Weeknd gave a characteristic, slightly enigmatic hint about what his next album will be like:
“If the last record is the after hours of the night,” he said, “then the dawn is coming.”There’s no question that “After Hours” is a dark album — all one needs to do is watch some of its videos, which basically add up to a horror film — and his statement that “the dawn is coming” naturally suggests that at least the subject matter of the songs will be brighter, and could provide him with a next chapter for the “After Hours” narrative, one that he could expand during the tour that has now been postponed twice due to the pandemic.
It’s also probably no accident that dawn was a favorite metaphor of one of the Weeknd’s biggest influences, Prince. It is referenced in dozens of his songs, perhaps most famously in the phrase “May U live 2 see the dawn,” which first appeared around the time of “Purple Rain” and popped up again multiple times over the following decades.
Each of his albums has represented a dramatic change from the one that preceded it, and based on his new release, the next one will probably be no exception.