How to Dress Well’s new album is ‘Care.’ It’s the fourth album from the singer-songwriter Tom Krell under that stage name and his first since the critically acclaimed ‘What Is This Heart?’ of 2014. As the new album arrives, critics are weighing in. Here’s a roundup of reviews.
Tom Krell rose to fame with his debut album ‘Love Remains’ in 2010, garnering nearly universal critical acclaim. The BBC called it an “exquisite album-length disquisition on memory and desire, love and loss.” For those who are in search of pop music with substance and gravitas, How to Dress Well has been filling that voice. And let’s face it, these days, it’s getting to be an intolerable void as artist crank out one digitized earworm after another.
Those who go against the increasingly lowered norms are standouts. Krell is among them. His music traverses genres, encompassing aspects of R&B, pop, and ambient sounds. And most notably, songs that are contemplative and that unabashedly tackle subject matter that may be as complex as it is contentious.
In an interview with the New York Times, Tom Krell spoke about the state of music and what he hopes to bring forth with his new album. He said, “There’s been a deficit of joy in music.” Expounding, he went on to say, “It’s often the case that art is able to produce affects of joy, which energize people against the forces of domination, energize people against cynicism and depression.”
Krell is a graduate student in philosophy and working on a dissertation on nihilism also spoke about the meaning of his album title. He told the newspaper, “The will against nihilism is typically a triumphal one: We’re going to beat this.” He went on to say, “But care is a new path. Care is not about a triumph. In order to ask for care, I have to involve my fragility.”
The new album arrives with plenty of fanfare and lots of positive reviews. Here’s what the critics are saying.
“….A lot of a listener’s acceptance of Care depends on their acceptance for nervous candor; for purposeful titles like “Lost Youth / Lost You,” for earnest existential wonderings of what “care” means, for transcribed 3 a.m. chats about how everyone looks at their phones and how warm skin is awesome…..” –SPIN
“…. Gone is the vocal reverb and echo, along with any sense of hesitation. Here, Krell makes his intentions known on immediately with album opener “Can’t You Tell,” singing clearly that he wants to “lay you down and take you right there.”….” –Exclaim
“….Care is as close to a perfect example of modern music as you’re likely to find–it’s self-reliant, self-assured and packed with more hooks than a cloakroom. ….” –The Line of Best Fit
“….The casual listener is sure to find comfort in the background nature of the music at play here, and a voice this talented couldn’t help but deliver an above average pop record even on autopilot. That being said, there is a wish that he’d understand the very best pop statements don’t shy away from a clear personality ….” –The 405
“….Even with a liberal sprinkling of just-so production tics–and some nauseatingly navel-gazing lyrics (“I want to learn to care for my soul”, Krell wails on Salt Song)–Care is a rather mundane package. ….” –The Guardian
“….Tom Krell writes music with the mindset of someone who leaves their diary open to a page they want you to read. How to Dress Well, Krell’s psychic safety valve for his musical dreamscapes, played like a Ready for the World and ‘90s neo-soul homage in its infancy….” –Pop Matters
Check back for more reviews as they arrive. And in the meantime, check out How to Dress Well’s ‘Care’ album cover art and music videos below!