The new era of The Weeknd is here, and it has the ‘Take My Breath’ singer looking…old. The Weeknd shared the first look at his ‘Dawn FM’ album, and he looked like a withered old man on the album art.
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A picture is worth a thousand words, so The Weeknd didn’t say much on Tuesday (Jan. 4) when he unveiled the artwork for his new album, Dawn FM. “Album cover,” the singer, born Abel Tesfaye, captioned the social media posts that featured the art. In it, the 31-year-old singer was transformed into an old man. His distinctive hair was white and gray. His beard was a scruffy mess. The skin on his face was marred with wrinkles, livers spots, and sunken eyes that had seen many long nights. A sliver of light illuminated the back of his neck, indicating the titular dawn was coming.
Fans responded to the reveal with a mixed reaction. There were the expected enthusiastic comments – “I AM NOT READY,” “READY FOR THE DAWN FM,” “DAWN IS COMING” – but some weren’t feeling the artwork. “Sir?” “This sh!t better be good if this is the album cover.” “Is this supposed to show us how much we waited for Dawn FM?” The last comment is odd since DAWN FM will arrive on Jan. 7, 2022, less than two years since The Weeknd’s previous album, After Hours.
While the narrative around this album shifted following After Hours’ now-infamous Grammy snub, the album was the soundtrack to 2020. “Blinding Lights” became the song with the most weeks spent in the top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40, and top 100 of the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately resulting in the publication dubbing it The #1 Greatest Hot 100 Hit of All Time.
The Weeknd did spend most of 2021 hyping up this new release. In May 2021, he told Variety, “if the last record is the After Hours of the night, then The Dawn is coming.” Over the following seven months, Abel would drop references and hints to the album. At the start of 2022, The Weeknd shared a screenshot of a conversation between him and La Mar Taylor, the co-founder of XO records. “What we thinking?” asked La Mar. “Happy New Year! Everything feels chaotic again. Music can heal, and that feels more important than another album rollout,” responded The Weeknd. “Let’s just drop the whole thing and enjoy it with the people.”
Dawn FM will feature appearances from Tyler, the Creator, Quincy Jones, Oneohtrix Point Never, Lil Wayne, and The Weeknd’s new BFF, Jim Carrey. For those who aren’t feeling the official cover, Stereogum pointed out that The Weeknd’s official online shop is currently listing two alternative Dawn FM covers, billed as Collector’s 01 and Collector’s 02 editions. This artwork is from Robert Beatty and is available on CD, vinyl, and cassette format.