Song of the Week: The Weeknd Struggles With a “Sacrifice”

Alison Wonderland, Ylona Garcia, and x also dropped essential tracks

the weeknd sacrifice
The Weeknd, photo courtesy of the artist

    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, a new single from The Weeknd provides the perfect Friday soundtrack.

    The Weeknd went high-concept with Dawn FM, the new album that arrived today, January 7th — and it worked. The radio station storyline is tinged with an air of sadness, and the commitment to the bit feels perfectly paired with the artist’s penchant for ’80s sounds.

    “Sacrifice,” the artist’s next single, is more of the irresistible fare for which The Weeknd has become known. He knows how to keep things interesting, pulling off homages that don’t feel outdated, and re-tooling throwback sounds for the present day.


    Abel’s wavy vocals sound right at home here. The production is bouncy and bright, making “Sacrifice” stand out in an album packed with earworms (like the also fantastic “How Do I Make You Love Me”). Something The Weeknd excels at, though, is weaving heavier themes into deceptively bright tracks, and “Sacrifice” is no exception. “I hold you through the toughest parts/ When you feel likе it’s the end/ ‘Cause life is still worth living,” he promises.

    In the chorus, though, where he declares that he doesn’t want to sacrifice anything for his lover’s approval, he shows a reversal of the themes presented in this album’s predecessor, After Hours, and even seems to show some acceptance towards the idea of being on his own.


    Whether heading into this album ready to peel back the many layers it contains or looking for a track to kick off Friday, “Sacrifice” is the perfect starting point.

    — Mary Siroky
    Contributing Editor

    Honorable Mentions:

    Alison Wonderland – “Fear of Dying”

    Alison Wonderland, the DJ and singer out of Australia, managed to transcend the DJ categorization thanks to her vocal ability. She often pairs addicting drops with airy vocals, and the music video for her latest, “Fear of Dying,” features visuals as dizzying as the beat in the song. The accompanying music videos is one of the most fun parts of the new track — she’s on an evening ride through the streets of Los Angeles featuring a hostage, revealed to be a former version of herself. Doesn’t everyone sometimes wish they could reclaim their past like this?  — M.S. 

    Cannons – “Purple Sun”

    After several alternative radio hits and standout singles, few acts have as much momentum as Cannons right now. Today they return with “Purple Sun,” which combines their atmospheric dream pop with a blissful reggae groove — not a typical combination by any means. But Cannons are at their best when they let their most emotive moments take the lead, and “Purple Sun” finds them hitting an expressive high point. It’s the equivalent to a Mai Tai at sunset, but with an added layer of haze that gives the song a dizzying — but satisfying — effect. — Paolo Ragusa

    MARINA – “Pink Convertible”

    If the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, you might as well ride off into the sunset in a pink convertible. That’s the tongue-in-cheek message behind MARINA’s apocalyptic new track, which heralds the arrival of the deluxe version of her exquisite 2021 album Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land. “Let them eat cake and keep our engines running/ Not even Marie Antoinette could see the end was coming/ We party harder when there’s no tomorrow/ The time has come to help and now we’re all fallin’ like dominoes,” she tosses off on the song’s damning bridge. Makes you think twice about blasting this one on the 405 with the top down, doesn’t it? — Glenn Rowley


    Beirut – “Fyodor Dormant”

    Zach Condon’s new Beirut album Artifacts (out January 28th) promises to be a collection of unreleased material from his 15+ year career, and today’s release of “Fyodor Dormant” feels like finding buried treasure. Typically, Beirut’s affinity for horns results in a joyous and regal sound, but on “Fyodor Dormant,” it’s the gentle synths, bouncy piano, and skittering electric drums that create a euphoric high. Condon’s welcoming baritone may lack some enunciation, but his warm and inviting tone is infectious, giving his one and only sung verse a comforting glow. — P.R.

    Ylona Garcia – “Entertain Me”

    If there’s one thing listeners can expect to come out of label 88rising, it’s an absolute bop. “Entertain Me,” the latest from 19-year old Ylona Garcia, is just a blast — written by Garcia herself, the track shows the young artist taking control and wielding her agency to her advantage. So much has changed over the past few decades, but, sometimes, girls still just wanna have fun. — M.S.

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