Toronto / Berlin.

The first major album of the year by a great pop star should also be one of the most successful: Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd has struck again.

The 31-year-old vocal art – combined with R’n’B, disco beats and 80s synth sounds – is found on her fifth album, “Dawn FM”, in a dark and light way. Many sound like Giorgio Moroder, Daft Punk – and even Michael Jackson.

The Weeknd is firmly seated on the throne of the international music market. For “Starboy”, the Canadian brought Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar and Lana del Rey into the studio four years ago. This time around, Tyler The Creator and Lil Wayne appear as the featured artists.

The first single wasn’t exactly indicative of sensitivity, because even though “Take My Breath” seems to revolve around the sexual practice of reducing breathing and strangling, it is in the midst of a pandemic with the coronavirus disease Covid -19, to which millions can no longer breathe, something is wrong.

Jim Carrey moderates

The second single from the album, for which a video was also released, is called “Sacrifice”. Looks like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. Here too – as with “Take My Breath” or “How Do I Make You Love Me” – Swedish hit producer Max Martin and the Swedish House Mafia dance project were involved. These are works suited to the hits of the world, although none sound as strong as the massive 2020 hit “Blinding Lights”, which was very reminiscent of Jackson’s “Beat it”.

“Dawn FM” is presented as a concept album. Hollywood star Jim Carrey (“The Mask”, “The Grinch”) leads through the numbers like a sort of radio presenter: “You listen to 103.5 Dawn FM now,” he presents the fictional station. “You have been in the dark for too long. It’s time to step into the light… ”greet the listeners.

The album aims to bring listeners out of obscurity – “Dawn” means “Morgendämmerung” in German. On the cover you can see a very aged weekend. The texts deal with trauma, depression, love problems – but also their management. The singing narrative ego is not particularly pleasant and seems psychologically unstable.

In “Here We Go … Again” there is a passage in the text that his new girlfriend is a movie star. This has fueled the rumor mill that alludes to Angelina Jolie. Abel Tesfaye has been seen more often in recent months with the actress, who is 15 years her senior. However, a romance has not been confirmed.

In “Gasoline” the singer is barely recognizable as he sings large pieces with a British accent. The song sounds like Depeche Mode. The Weeknd understood like no other male pop star that it is barely enough to launch a collection of songs on the market today. The music should make you sit down and take note, also offer a (visual) narrative.

Early career on the Internet

The music videos from his album “After Hours”, released at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, were related in terms of content and always showed him in a horror movie script or in a gangster environment. Tesfaye partied there, sped his car, had mishaps, got beaten up, bled, looked like a zombie.

So The Weeknd, who started out as an anonymous internet artist from his Toronto home in 2010, still retains his mysterious image. The dark staging of the bad boy rarely goes with the brilliant sound of the dance, but it fits in perfectly with a mythical pop enterprise. Who wants the transparent and always kind star you know everything about?

Tesfaye was born in Toronto in 1990 to an Ethiopian immigrant. As a teenager, he was addicted to drugs. He dropped out of school and left home for a weekend, which is also what his name “Weekend” refers to, but which he purposely misspelled “Weeknd” because of a Canadian band. of the same name.

With Quincy Jones

The New King of Pop is increasingly becoming a total work of art. He’s planning – as it should in the streaming age – possibly a series for TV provider HBO for 2022. “The Idol” is supposed to be about a pop singer who hooks up with a club owner in Los Angeles. who is also a cult leader.

The Weeknd made the connection with the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, not only with his songs, but also with an appearance on the album by music producer Quincy Jones. With it, Jackson once recorded his most successful albums (“Thriller”, “Bad”). In a piece of less than two minutes, the 88-year-old recounts how growing up without a mother influenced his later relationship with women. When there was too much closeness, he broke up, partly out of revenge, partly out of fear. Here, psychoanalysis becomes pop – or vice versa. (dpa)