How To Dress Well: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Since 2009, singer-songwriter Tom Krell has been crafting idiosyncratic electronic music under the enigmatic moniker How To Dress Well.
Boasting a PhD in philosophy from DePaul University, the brainy, mysterious Chicago-native broke onto the scene in earnest with 2010′s critically-acclaimed Love Remains, a somewhat ambient swirl of downtempo electro and R&B that earned an outstanding 8.7 from Pitchfork upon release.
Continuing to hone his ghostly and affecting tone, Krell followed up with Total Loss and “What Is This Heart?” in 2012 and 2014 respectively, garnering, on each occasion, critical praise to match his debut, even as he evolved toward a more accessible sound. Fittingly, How To Dress Well’s brand new fourth LP, Care, marks Krell’s most pop-friendly work to date, successfully marrying his wistful penchant for the dreamlike with inspired and memorable hooks.
We asked How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell to tell us about five albums that have impacted his life and music.
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Everything But The Girl: Walking Wounded
The best lyricist maybe ever! This album is so moving, but so pop; so lyrically direct and detailed but so hooky — literally, this is the paradigm. This is as good as it gets. There’s nothing better, in my mind, than the production on “Mirrorball” and the story she tells on that song. It crushes me and makes me smile ear-to-ear at the same time.
Prefab Sprout: Steve McQueen
There is no better songwriter. Paddy’s emotional agility and his capacity to develop completely novel images and metaphors that take you right to the heart of complex feelings is unmatched. Additionally, the production and pop hooks on this record are so damn good! All-time favorite? Def’ in my top three all-time records.
This is my favorite record from 2016. It’s so fucking punk in my mind, so emotional and direct! To me, it’s like Dashboard Confessional or something, but instead of acoustic guitar on every song it’s the same synth presets. The only thing that matters is the pure emotional expression, the pure melody and character of the voice. “Sip” is a perfect song and when it goes a cappella in the pre-chorus I weep. It’s so new but has already changed my life.
Mariah Carey: Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
The Dream is one of my all time favorites – “Love vs. Money” is def an all-time top 10 record for me – and he and Mariah did this whole album together. It’s quite an emotional record and her voice is just such a powerful conduit. She is a goddess and this album doesn’t get the praise it deserves.
Suzanne Kraft: Talk from Home
This record is only about a year old but I’ve been obsessed with it. Her work is so moody and clear and thoughtful that it almost feels alien but it’s always got these little hooks that get caught in your head. It’s a really sneakily powerful record.
[Photo Credit: Ben Tricklebank]
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