The Weeknd and FKA twigs didn’t waste time and thought January of 2022 would be a great time to drop their new projects–the full-length record Dawn FM and the mixtape CAPRISONGS, respectively.
Both artists announced them relatively last-minute, and their releases were only foreshadowed by collaborations with other artists or occasional singles released throughout the second half of 2021.
What’s even more interesting is that both artists collaborated in twigs’s leading single Tears in the Club, so it feels like they somehow agreed on dropping new music in the same period as a promotional strategy.
Whether that was planned or not, 2022 will surely be an exciting year for music of all genres.
The Weeknd’s Michael-Jackson-Inspired Radio Station Will Accompany You to the Light
Though I couldn’t finish listening to After Hours without taking breaks every couple of songs, I still decided to give The Weeknd’s Dawn FM a chance. And, although I am still not a fan of hour-long projects which somehow feel like compilations rather than thought-through LPs, I was very satisfied with Abel’s choice of giving the album a concept frame.
From the very first track, it is made clear that we will be listening to this homonymous radio station for one final hour, as the voice of the speaker–belonging to no less than Jim Carrey–informs us that “it’s time to walk into the light.”
Throughout the album, filled with exoteric symbols like the phone number 1-800-444-4444 in “Every Angel is Terrifying,” the speaker’s voice will appear again to inform us how long we have left before we finally meet our inevitable destiny.
Dawn FM was clearly inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” as suggested by the narrating voice and the overall 80s production that makes the album coherent and very catchy to listen to in one go, unlike his previous project.
The central theme appears to be regret, as shown in the interlude “A Tale By Quincy,” where an old male voice talks about the mistakes he made in his life. The cover, portraying an elder Abel, also helps set the tone and wishes to convey to us young listeners that, sooner or later, we might be listening to Dawn FM right at the end of our lives, meditating on our past just like Quincy is doing.
The LP features only two collaborations: one with Tyler, The Creator, and another with Lil Wayne, whose contemporary rap style somehow brings us back to the present moment in this 80s-synth madness.
Overall, The Weeknd delivered an exciting concept project that pays tribute to the past but looks into the future.
FKA twigs Plays with Glitches and Vocals in Her Super-Sensual Mixtape
Almost three years after the feminist masterpiece MAGDALENE, twigs switches up the gear and decides to wow us all with–surprise surprise–a mixtape.
Though the quality of her vocals remains undefeated, this time she goes for a more unpolished and almost raw sound, dominated by autotune and glitches.
Personally, although I enjoyed quite a few songs in the album, the overall production kind of left me disappointed as it sounded rather flat at times, despite the catchy Afrobeat influences that dominate the album.
“ride the dragon” might have been the weakest track to open the album with, as well as the second single that anticipated the album, “jealousy” featuring rema.
On the positive side of things, I feel most of her collaborations are very strong: Shygirl totally brings the heat in the sexual liberation anthem “papi bones,” a sort of sequel to “Papi Pacify;” pa salieu offers a balanced male counterpart to the tribal-dance-like “honda;” Jorja Smith’s vocals perfectly pair with twigs’s in “darjeeling.”
With frequent allusions to the horoscope and sexuality, CAPRISONGS is meant to be a wish of rebirth and healing, and although FKA twigs’s vocals are surely therapeutic and hypnotic, is her intentionally clumsy production that doesn’t totally do it for me, especially compared to the already-mentioned leading single Tears in the Club, which presents electro-heavy but overall digestible stylistic choices.
Considering this is a mixtape, I will excuse twigs’s artistic decisions this time, but I expect a much more polished production in her next full-length LP.