The emotionally charged, ‘Total Loss’ from Tom Krell’s ‘How To Dress Well’ stands a cut above the rest as a contemporary R&B outing. With themes, ranging from love to heartbreak, acceptance and failure, “Total Loss’ enters the mind of Krell’s personal struggle.
The opener, ‘When I Was In Trouble”, is an honest letter written to his mother about the conditional love shown to him while growing up. Over a sparse piano, the haunting and ethereal, ‘Cold Nites’, explores the notion of losing love to one’s own irresponsibility. Borrowing lyrics form Ashanti’s monster hit ‘Foolish’, Krell embraces how early 90′s R’N'B has influenced his sound on his ode to the era with ‘Running Back’. Standout track, ‘& It Was U’, is a positive, refreshing, mid-tempo track that showcases the singer’s unique falsetto.
I was fortunate enough to hear Tom perform selected tracks from his new album at Club Lambi on October 5th. I went in with the notion that his live vocals would borderline on nasal, whiny and at times probably annoying, When he opened his set with “Say My Name Or Say Whatever”, all of these pre-conceived judgements were shot down. Tom Krell is a master of vocal control. His falsetto sounds as clear as any of the records on “Total Loss”. Reminding us that R’N'B is his first love, Krell performed a rendition to call his own of R.Kelly’s ‘I Wish”.
With a stunning release in the last quarter of 2012, How To Dress Well, has left us with a fitting soundtrack for life’s many highs and lows.
Out now on Acéphale Records