The Weeknd Rings in the New Year With 2022’s First Potential Blockbuster Album

Plus, new songs from Sebastián Yatra, MARINA, and Father John Misty


Absolutely: The Weeknd, “Out of Time” – The beginning of the year is often a dead zone for new music releases—it can be months before something major hits. But not 2022! The Weeknd’s Dawn FM lands on the new year’s first Friday with blockbuster potential. Largely a collaboration with avant-pop writer/producer Oneohtrix Point Never and pop-pop producer Max Martin, the album dances between sounding kind of weird but ultra-chartable. In that respect, it reminds me of a lot of the post-disco R&B records of the early ‘80s that were teeming with one-of-a-kind synth sounds but still made total pop sense. “Out of Time” has a relaxed, almost yacht-rock-y vibe (think Raydio’s “You Can’t Change That”) and flutes that seem to directly reference the Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long.” The only drawback is this song is far too short, but that works from a thematic perspective: You’re locked in the groove and then suddenly out of time. The most magical of disappointments. —Rich Juzwiak

Obviously, I’m crying: Sebastián Yatra, “Dos Oruguitas” (from Encanto) – Initially I was a little skeptical about Encanto because Disney can be very hit or miss with culturally specific films. “Dos Oruguitas (Two Caterpillars)“ is an incredible sadboi bop. I love anything featuring a prominent Spanish guitar, but Yatra’s vocals and the manner in which he delivers these lyrics is so beautiful and soothing. While the visuals from the film make it incredibly heavy, the tune on its own is super uplifting and well done. —Shannon Melero

It’s MARINA, so yes: MARINA, “Pink Convertible” – Following her critically acclaimed 2021 album Ancient Dreams in a Modern Dream Land, Marina Lambrini Diamandis aka MARINA is out with a new single. Despite its dream-state soundscape, “Pink Convertible” is, naturally, depressing. The queen of biting lyricism, MARINA seems to have mastered the catatonic climate change pop song better than most modern artists, with unsettling, apocalyptic truths nestled amidst pretty arrangements and “handbag shopping on Rodeo Drive.” It’s not the catchiest of bops, but I really hope that some DJ in LA decides to mix this and play it at Delilah for Paris Hilton, Drake, and co., as a little wakeup call. —Emily Leibert

Yeah, as a pregame for the album: Father John Misty, “Funny Girl” – Father John, legally known as Josh Tillman, is teasing his fifth album Chloë and the Next 20th Century—his first since 2018—with the release of “Funny Girl” and an accompanying music video that follows an aimless jellyfish, which is allegedly supposed to represent Father?? With orchestral accompaniment, Father presents a single that lacks the sorrow that made Pure Comedy gold, but makes up for it in majestic scope, singing, “I don’t think either of us yearns to share the stage.” Probably best for record player listening or a long car drive, but I’m mostly just amped to see what covid has done to Father’s brain and musical vision. I’m expecting a wild ride come April. —EL

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