SAD WHITE BOY R’N’B
If white boys co-opted modern day r’n’b the same way their grandfathers stole rock from blacks and we fastforwarded 40 years after, you’d get Tom Krell’s appropriation of the genre. Known more by his chosen stage name, How to Dress Well, Tom’s debut Love Remains was impressive, a fractured r’n’b debut that showcased fragile falsetto more somnolent than soulful.
Perhaps a reaction to The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, Tom’s follow up Total Loss makes sure than none of its predecessor’s mistakes are repeated. The grief of his previous album felt calculated – hey, I’m doing r’n’b by way of depressed, suicidal suburban white boy – this time ‘round, when he began the album with “you were there for me when I was in trouble,” we believe him. Maybe because the sentiment is more universal and relatable.
Other times, his decisions feel calculated again, such as when he declares “will you love me like no other did, boy?” The sexual ambiguity comes seemingly out of nowhere and acts more as a reference to the kind of modern day r’n’b hipsters listen to (Frank Ocean). We’re not hating on Tom though, his lyrics and delivery definitely feels starker, there’s a level of personal despondency to his words. The level of loss and loneliness he pours out into his minimalist drum machine-aided electro soul beats feel real. The reverbs are a part of his melancholy on Total Loss.
LISTEN TO: ‘Cold Nites’, ‘World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You (Proem)’, ‘& It Was U’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Frank Ocean, The Weeknd