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Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘Dawn FM’ by ‘The Weeknd’

Released: 2022

Label: XO / Republic Records

Featuring: Tyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, Swedish House Mafia, Oneohtrix Point Never, Sebastian Ingrosso, Salvatore Ganacci, KAYTRANADA, Summer Walker, MIKE DEAN

When it comes to painting a sonic canvas as vivid and immersive as a midsummer night’s dream, Toronto’s very own Abel Tesfaye, widely known as The Weeknd, remains unparalleled. His fifth studio album ‘Dawn FM’ shakes the pillars of the hip-hop landscape with its intricate, layered narratives and sublime wordplay, beautifully infused with the shadowy touch of Abel’s trademark dark R&B. Tracks like “Gasoline” and “Take My Breath”, lay testament not just to his melodic finesse, but also to his lyrical prowess that has long positioned him amongst the yodas of the rap game.

‘Dawn FM’ is an anthology of tales winding through labyrinths of love, regret and emotional chaos, intricately woven through the haunting cadence of The Weeknd’s voice. Melded with potent collaborations – amongst them, the lyrical genius Tyler, the Creator on “Here We Go… Again” and industry titan Lil Wayne on “I Heard You’re Married” – the album elevates the hip-hop narrative to transcendent heights. Replete with remixes that breathe fresh perspective into his words, particularly the melancholic echo of the “Out of Time – KAYTRANADA Remix” and the pulsating vibe of “Sacrifice (Remix) (feat. Swedish House Mafia)”.

So let’s get into it. From the pensive “Less Than Zero” to the spiritually evocative “Every Angel is Terrifying”, here are the breaking down the lyrics on ‘Dawn FM’ by ‘The Weeknd’.

Dawn FM

Manifesting as a radio station, 103.5 Dawn FM, this joint has listeners tuned in to the frequency of Abel’s psyche. Be it the existential uncertainty after lights out, or the yearning for something tangible amidst make-beliefs, the track dares to interrogate what many dread. And yet, with ebb-like smoothness, it escorts you into accepting fate, making peace with the inevitable. What’s more, it does this while inviting us to ride the wave of the album’s narrative. From the deepest trenches of isolation to wide-open acceptance, “Dawn FM” is the sine wave of The Weeknd’s emotional landscape. That’s hip-hop existentialism at its finest, y’all.


Abel evokes an eerie, late-night atmosphere, saturated with nihilistic desperation and a quest for sensations to remind him he’s alive. This masterpiece perfectly marries his vocal vulnerability with gritty, introspective lyrics revealing his standoff with an existential abyss. The recurring “It’s 5 a.m.” line not only sets the dawn context, mirroring the album’s overall theme but also symbolizes the artist’s internal struggles with his darkest demons during late-night hours. It’s a rollercoaster ride through the nocturnal realms of The Weeknd’s psyche, fueled by eerie melodies and raw lyrical depth.

How Do I Make You Love Me?

It embodies Abel Tesfaye’s signature style of blending raw vulnerability with audacious honesty. In this track, The Weeknd finds himself navigating the complex maze of emotions attached with unrequited love. The lyrics echo his desperate plea for affection, his willingness to disrupt reality for acceptance, all wrapped up in a mushroom tea metaphor. It’s the quintessential Weeknd song, where pain meets pleasure, and love dances with despair. The psychological and emotional depth of this track places it among The Weeknd’s most introspective works on ‘Dawn FM’.

Take My Breath

The lyrics convey a carnal yearning, an exploration of tantalising temptation and thrilling risks. Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, lays bare a narrative of risqué encounters underscored by the ominous warning of paying the ultimate price. It paints passion as dangerous yet irresistible, reinforcing the toxically seductive atmosphere The Weeknd magnificently elicits in his music. Balancing the light of desire with the darkness of consequence, “Take My Breath” crafts a compelling sonic portrait of the dichotomy between pleasure and punishment.


It’s grimy, it’s dark, and yet, it’s infused with The Weeknd’s signature soaring vocals. The lyrical narrative carries a chilled confession of prioritizing his passion before love, showing a mix of guilt and defiance he contemplates his ability to hold onto a romantic relationship while being tethered to his fast-paced lifestyle. The internal struggle, beautifully wrapped in his velvety tone and underpinned by pulsating beats, coalesces into a heady mix of triumph and torment. “Sacrifice” reflects the quintessential Weeknd paradox, a hedonist with a heart, facing down love’s demands amidst the intoxicating pull of his nocturnal adventures.

A Tale By Quincy

In essence, it’s an audacious monologue that touches on generational trauma and mental health, resonating with anyone who’s faced the murky waters of family turmoil. The raw narrative strips away the gloss and glamour typical of The Weeknd’s music, illustrating how emotional burden from the past can bleed into present relationships. Despite being an interlude, its depth and vulnerability definitely punch above its weight, aligning perfectly with the overall introspective vibe of “Dawn FM”. Unorthodox in its structure, it breaks away from the norm, showcasing The Weeknd’s evolution as a conscientious raconteur.

Out of Time

He confesses about being ‘cold’ and reflects on his inability to love when it mattered the most. There’s an evident remorse as he acknowledges he’s ‘out of time’ to win back his love. The pulsating synth beats, coupled with the melancholic vocals, encapsulates the pleading and desperation felt in the aftermath of a dwindling romance. This is a testament to The Weeknd’s evolution in style where introspection becomes a definitive part of his soundscape.

Here We Go… Again (feat. Tyler, the Creator)

Again” by The Weeknd, featuring Tyler, the Creator, is an exploration of the cyclical nature of fame and love. The lyrics unfold like an intimate conversation in stanzas, revealing the unsettled mind of The Weeknd as he navigates upscale living, romantic struggles, and an unyielding spotlight. Tyler’s verse adds an extra layer of complexity to the track, offering his perspective on commitment and the burdens of fame. From extravagant lifestyles to the emotional turmoil artists face in relationships, this track is an honest reflection of the intermingled worlds of fame and heartache in the hip-hop industry.

Best Friends

Abel delves deep into his soul, expressing his fear of responsibility and the potential for destruction in this tricky dynamic. The track stands out as a confession of sorts, laced with a raw honesty that’s so signature to The Weeknd’s style, revealing a narrative about love that’s confusing, yet so relatable. The end product is a bittersweet ode to friendships that teeter on the fragile line of romantic entanglements, encapsulating the heartache and the beauty in vulnerability.

Is There Someone Else?

Amid a mellifluous backdrop, Weeknd embodies the jealous lover, wrestling with the uncertainty of a wavering romance. Blending self-doubt and remorse, Abel’s lyrics expose a yearning to regain his romantic standing even as he acknowledges his past transgressions. The track further underlines Weeknd’s knack for relating complex emotional states through his emotive delivery and evocative lyricism, setting it up as an essential piece in the ‘Dawn FM’ narrative puzzle. In a genre often dominated by braggadocious rhymes and hedonistic pursuits, it’s a stark, emotional cut that illuminates the darker corners of love’s landscape.

Starry Eyes

The song’s lyrics, rich in metaphor, invoke a shattered soul, depicting a picture of someone weighed down by a past of intense experiences. Striking a delicate balance between despair and hope, The Weeknd reveals his willing martyrdom for the object of his affection, promising unconditional love and support. With its introspective lyrics, the track serves as a poignant exploration of the intricacies of love and the disposition to sacrifice, wrapped up in the Weeknd’s signature dark synth-pop soundscape, further extending the narrative of ‘Dawn FM.’

Every Angel is Terrifying

It’s a fever dream blend of sci-fi, religion, and existential angst, showcasing his penchant for cinematic storytelling. Spinning narratives about ethereal beings, he pulls the listener into his dystopian fantasy. This track isn’t just a song; it’s a profound meditation on life, love, and terror, exposing the cruelty beneath beauty. Blending surreal monologues and intense sonic landscapes, it embodies the Weeknd’s experimentation to distort reality into a hauntingly beautiful macabre tapestry. It ain’t for the faint-hearted, but true Weeknd disciples will find it captivating and thought-provoking.

Don’t Break My Heart

Each verse is a cry reaching out from the depths of a man teetering on the edge of emotional exhaustion, begging for respite amidst a whirlwind of club lights and intoxicating encounters. The sharp contrast between ecstasy and agony, love and despair, speaks volumes about Abel’s struggle with romance, a recurring theme in his discography. His desperate plea, “Don’t Break My Heart”, intertwines desire with fear, showcasing a man entranced by love yet haunted by the possibility of heartbreak. It’s as much an exploration of self as it is a narrative of a tragic relationship, deeply embedded in The Weeknd’s characteristically exquisite fusion of lyricism and melody.

I Heard You’re Married (feat. Lil Wayne)

Lil Wayne)” is a standout track from The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’. The song presents a complex narrative of infidelity and deceit, capturing the morally grey area where love and lust overlap. The Weeknd’s vocal delivery conveys a balance of bewilderment and acceptance, underscored by the sobering reality of a love interest’s matrimony. Lil Wayne joins the narrative with his verse, providing a raw and honest perspective, culminating in a threatening note to the husband of the woman at the center of the song. This track serves as a melodramatic interlude in the album’s story of love, loss, and regret, and further solidifies The Weeknd’s ability to depict fraught relationships with unflinching authenticity.

Less Than Zero

Embodying classic Weeknd material, the song draws you in with its candid acknowledgment of personal imperfections and lost love. Abel Tesfaye’s poignant vocals drive home the struggle for redemption in the face of haunting past mistakes. From ‘wear your heart like a symbol’ to ‘I’ll always be less than zero’, the lyrics unveil an emotional narrative of self-deprecation and yearning for reconciliation with a lost love. The song encapsulates The Weeknd’s knack for uniquely blending deep personal introspection with catchy pop beats, maintaining the balance his fans have come to love.

Phantom Regret by Jim

This ain’t your typical Weeknd joint, no sir. Instead, Abel flips the script, shedding his usual toxic-bachelor persona, delving deep into themes of regret, time, and mortality. The lyrics echo a soul wrestling with past mistakes and future anxieties while reflecting on the comfort that comes with acceptance and letting go. Set against the ethereal backdrop of Dawn FM’s metanarrative, the track blurs the line between life and death, creating a liminal space that’s uniquely Weeknd-esque. Lyrics wise, Abel’s penmanship shines the brightest, offering listeners a thought-provoking journey that elevates Dawn FM from just another album to a testament of The Weeknd’s evolution as an artist.

Moth To A Flame (with The Weeknd)

The joint track is a masterful tapestry of unrequited affection and loyalty bringing The Weeknd’s trademark moody falsetto to the fore, magnified by Swedish House Mafia’s melodic soundscape. The lyrics delve into the protagonist’s struggle as he tries to detach himself from an enthralling yet destructive relationship. He refers to himself as a moth drawn towards a flame, symbolizing his self-destructive attraction. This narrative reflects The Weeknd’s ongoing theme of tumultuous love—an emblematic centerpiece in his discography.

Dawn FM – OPN Remix

It flexes his signature melodramatic tone, embracing a blend of tortured lyrics and cathartic bravado. This song contemplates the dichotomy between light and darkness, symbolizing hope and despair, like two sides of the same coin. The repetitive query, “After the light, is it dark, is it dark all alone?” underscores his struggle with solitude and existential dread. On the flip side, it also echoes our common fear of the unknown, a universal struggle. The OPN Remix, charged with synth-heavy sounds, amplifies the tension, making the listener feel like they’re wandering in an electronic maze of their own emotions.

How Do I Make You Love Me? – Sebastian Ingrosso & Salvatore Ganacci Remix

The lyrics reflect an intense yearning for acceptance, pushing against the boundaries of a reluctant recipient’s heart. Amid the hypnotic repetition of “I’ll teach you how to shine”, we sense The Weeknd’s raw ambition to empower his love interest, to liberate her from the constraining shadows of her past, and to guide her into an exhilarating realm of self-discovery. It’s a poignant exploration of unrequited love, demonstrating The Weeknd’s skillful narrative articulation, all seeped in the irresistible cadence of dance music.

Sacrifice (Remix) (feat. Swedish House Mafia)

Abel flexes his lyrical prowess to expose his unflinching self-awareness, painting an underworld where emotional availability is traded for nocturnal indulgences. The pulsating beats entwined with the haunting chorus encapsulate his struggle to balance love and his undying affection for the night. A closer look at its verse, “Every time you try to fix me, I know you’ll never find that missing piece,” reveals a narrative of a man who understands his relentless pursuit of hedonism might just stand in the way of finding true love.

Out of Time – KAYTRANADA Remix

The melancholy mantra, ‘out of time’, is a constant reminder of opportunities missed and ties cut too late. In this emotional rollercoaster, Abel confesses his shortcomings, acknowledging his inability to appreciate love when it was within reach. KAYTRANADA’s remix flips the script, bringing in a danceable, but equally poignant mood to the original composition. The Weeknd’s vocal performance delivers the desperate plea of a man who has seen the error of his ways but arrived too late to undo them. It’s classic Weeknd, uprooting emotions and making you feel them with every beat.

Best Friends – Remix

The lyrics dwell on the fallout of a ‘friends with benefits’ scenario, focusing on the difficulty of maintaining a platonic bond once the boundaries have been blurred. It’s a poignant reflection on friendship, love, and the delicate balance that often stands between the two. The Weeknd vividly conveys the sense of regret and longing that such situations can instigate, coupled with his signature moody, atmospheric sound that perfectly encapsulates this struggle.

Starry Eyes – MIKE DEAN Remix

Abel- no stranger to narratives of pain – steps deep into his emotions, focusing on healing from heartache, the struggle of love, and the process of picking up the pieces. This version, sprinkled with enhanced electronic elements, underscores his oft-shattered soul, amplifying the sense of longing and love that’s become his trademark. The Weeknd doesn’t just sing about love, he paints intricate portraits of it, embodying the raw and unfiltered essence of an emotional rollercoaster, making “Starry Eyes” a poignant remix that lingers long after the track ends.

Take My Breath – Single Version

It’s a compelling confession of dangerous lust and a desire for excitement on the brink of oblivion. The lyrical brilliance of Abel speaks volumes as he walks on the edge of temptation, spontaneity, and sacrifice. The whole joint revolves around the idea of an intoxicatin’ love so fierce it’s life-altering – literally takin’ his breath away. His tightrope walk between pleasure and peril captures the essence of the intoxication that comes with flirtin’ with danger. The Weeknd, true to his moniker, gives us a space where the party never ends, even if it might be the last one you ever attend.

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