Last week, The Weeknd released the hit debut album of the year, Dawn FM. His last album, after hours, rolled out a cinematic script that paid homage to various films; this time it uses the radio as a narrative device, as the songs play as if listening to an adult contemporary station. Jim Carrey is the reassuring and slightly chilling voice of a DJ on 103.5 Dawn FM, while The Weeknd’s nerdy singing station identification jingle is one of the most catchy earworms in the world. album.
The weekend is not the first musician use this concept. The classic albums of some of the most revered bands and rappers of all time have also been structured as a radio station hopping from track to track, sometimes criticizing the state of radio, sometimes paying homage to the medium, and sometimes just blundering. Here is a look back at 9 of the best albums of the last half-century that have deployed the concept.
9. Stone Age Queens – songs for the deaf (2002)
It was Queens of the Stone Age’s big breakthrough album, with Dave Grohl sitting on drums, playing the hits “No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow”. It’s a running theme, with car radio charting a road trip from Los Angeles to the California desert, ridiculing the same kinds of rock stations that now had the band on heavy rotation. The album opens on KLON Los Angeles Clone Radio proudly proclaiming, “We play the songs that sound more like everyone than anyone else. But in the end, the epic centerpiece “God is in the radio” establishes a slightly more favorable view of the FM dial. Musicians, including Cramps frontman Lux Interior and Marilyn Manson’s Twiggy Ramirez, play the DJs that appear throughout.
8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Oneohtrix Magic Stitch Ever (2020)
OK, so it’s not technically a radio station album — instead, Daniel Lopatin tweaks the static, glossy Top 40 radio aesthetic into something edgy yet oddly beautiful. But it’s easy to imagine that Oneohtrix Magic Stitch Ever, executive produced by Tesfaye, was in a way a precursor to Dawn FM, which features Lopatin’s output on 13 tracks. The two started collaborating after Lopatin scored the role of Tesfaye Uncut Gems.
7. Various artists – Reservoir Dogs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1992)
Quentin Tarantino’s debut is set over the course of a weekend, with fictional radio station K-Billy’s “Super Sounds of the Seventies Weekend” as the sonic backdrop and infamous deadpan comedian Steven Wright playing the DJ. . The soundtrack album then essentially becomes half an hour of K-Billy listening, with additional interludes from Steven Wright, as he snappyly introduces AM gold like “Hooked On A Feeling” and “Stuck in the Middle with You”.
6. The Carpenters – Now (1973)
It was perhaps the first truly popular work of 60s nostalgia. The entire second half of the brother/sister duo’s fifth album was covered by the single “Yesterday Once More” and a medley of 1961 hit songs. to 1964, including classics from the Beach Boys, Bobby Vee and the Rags. Carpenters guitarist Tony Peluso plays the role of the radio DJ who takes you through the oldies, with Richard and Karen’s cousin Mark in a cameo as the listener who calls into the station.