After months of teases, the Weeknd has finally announced that his new album, “Dawn FM,” will be dropping on Friday (Jan. 7).
He unveiled the news in a characteristically cryptic video that, in line with his series of videos from his previous album, “After Hours,” finds him well dressed, in some kind of peril, and involves a beautiful woman. But rather than the busted-nose image of “After Hours,” this one finds him aged at the end. Several film-score-like snippets from what may be his new single, which soundtracks the clip. The album is billed “”A new sonic univerrse from the mind of the Weeknd.”
There’s also a list of co-stars — Quincy Jones, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne, longtime musical collaborator Oneohtrix Point Never, and actor fellow Scarborough, Ontario native Jim Carrey, whose friendship the Weeknd spoke with Variety about in 2020 — who will presumably appear in the video for the song that the snippet is teasing.
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. ;^• https://t.co/FV2LoKLYVX
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) January 3, 2022
The clip closes with a radio-DJ voiceover saying, “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.”
Presumably, we’ll find out what all of this means on Friday.
The album is his first full-length release since his blockbuster “After Hours,” released in March of 2020, although he has released multiple songs, remixes, collaborations and videos; starred in and co-wrote the forthcoming HBO series “The Idol”; and, along the way, headlined the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime show, among other activities.
The Weeknd actually first revealed the album’s title to Variety back in May. During an interview about the Grammys’ decision to eliminate nomination-review committees (more on that here), we slipped in a question about the new music he’d hinted at in social media posts.
“If the last record is the after hours of the night,” he said, “then the dawn is coming.”
He’s since referenced the album’s title often, releasing a video teaser along with the “Take My Breath” single in August. Over the weekend he teased that details about the album were coming. In a screen grab of a text to his longtime creative director La Mar Taylor, he wrote, “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.”
Then on Sunday, he posted “Wake up at dawn tomorrow…”
The album is technically his fifth, but that’s not including his three mixtapes released in 2011 (combined into the “Trilogy” compilation), his “My Dear Melancholy” and “After Hours (Remixes)” EPs and dozens of stray songs, remixes and guest appearances.