If a song can get me to start finger snapping and grooving my head and body all at the same time, it’s a good song. No. I take that back. It’s a great song. Grooves like “& It Was You” are not really being made as much as they should be, and How To Dress Well made an exceptional album that grooves more than anything else this year. One of the best parts is though, not only does it groove, but it also knows when to slow down and take it easy. This is an album that ebbs and flows from soft, gentle piano driven songs, to faster drum machine powered tracks. It really is as if the album itself is alive. The ocean is a great metaphor to fully represent what Total Loss does for a listener. There are the strong parts that crash and have energy wrapped up in them. Then there are the peaceful parts, like the slow flowing of the ocean, that balance out the rest and make the stronger parts seem that much stronger.
Electronic R&B is something that I did not think would ever grace this wonderful world of music, but here is How To Dress Well, doing exactly that and in amazing fashion to say the least. The album is a mixture of relaxation and sexiness. There are both parts laid back and up front. Overall, the album can be played in so many different settings and can be perfect for a Sunday morning while one is reading the paper and drinking coffee or on a winter night, walking around in the snow. Peacefulness is the biggest emotion that exudes from this album and it is achieved through the unforgettable and lingering falsetto, which is the voice that produces the vocals for this album. The vocals are exceptionally haunting and one of the best parts of Total Loss. Tom Krell seems to be crying out in anguish on every track, pouring his soul into his music. They also happen to fit perfectly with the slow and winding sounds of the synth that is employed heavily by Krell. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year and I enjoyed it numerous times. As I sat down to do my list, I realized I had enjoyed it just enough, to the point where it had nowhere to be but at my number 5 album of the year. Because as sparse as this review is, I know deep down that I will be listening to this album for a long, long time down the line. And that is how an album reaches the top 5 of any list.