Total Loss - How to Dress Well
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. 80
    With eleven songs, the album flows serenely well and sounds like a two part voyage; the second half much weightier, the first half perhaps more buoyant.
  2. Sep 28, 2012
    80
    An intriguing new artist has found his voice. [Nov 2012, p.76]
  3. Sep 25, 2012
    70
    Total Loss is a beautiful album, all ambient longing and sadness and spectral pop, rising and falling without warning - no other artist gets more emotional effect out of leaving things not quite finished. But it still feels not quite finished.
  4. It's an album that ceaselessly overflows with love and a desire to reach out and relate, and it's this that makes such a heavy album so accessible and so resoundingly good.
  5. Sep 21, 2012
    66
    Although Total Loss focuses on the deterioration of relationships over time, it's interesting that each track inverts that idea by flourishing with every second that passes.
  6. Sep 20, 2012
    80
    Total Loss is surely one of the year's most affecting records: a symphony of pain that continues haunting long after the record ends.
  7. Sep 20, 2012
    84
    Total Loss uses the common tools of pop expression-- four-minute songs, autobiography, choruses, confession-- to create a work of poignant and devastating art.
  8. Sep 19, 2012
    80
    Total Loss is a brave effort by an artist who's clearly not afraid to show vulnerability through risk-taking and soul baring.
  9. Sep 18, 2012
    70
    When Krell is on, he's on. [Aug/Sep 2012, p.111]
  10. Sep 18, 2012
    75
    whereas Krell's keening, pleading falsetto dominated Love Remains, Total Loss finds him granting the rest of his sonic palette more prominence.
  11. Sep 18, 2012
    70
    Amongst all that haze, it's clear that Krell has produced another gorgeous record that is incredibly open about love and loss.
  12. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    Total Loss is a largely dud-free album.
  13. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    His improved state of mind, and the superior production on some of the tracks, does bring the music on occasion perilously close to the RnB blandness to which this is presumably supposed to provide an alternative.
  14. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    Melancholic, romantic and unashamedly emotional, his loss is our gain. [Oct 2012, p.103]
  15. Sep 18, 2012
    50
    Krell seems like a victim of his own good intentions. There's a kernel of an idea here.
  16. 80
    Squired by The xx producer Rodaidh McDonald, this second album is hugely accomplished.
  17. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    HWTD has dug himself a neat, little songbird alcove and it's one only he can reach.
  18. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    On the poignant and powerful Total Loss, he's finally invited us all in.
  19. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    By focusing both on overt dynamics and dozens of quiet, underlying ripples, Krell has lent his work a subtle weightiness that becomes clear only after repeat listens.
  20. Sep 18, 2012
    70
    While Love Remains proved a hard listen because of its liberal use of distorted effects, Total Loss is tough going because of the emotional intensity of its content.
  21. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    This new approach is graceful but weary, with mixed results throughout.
  22. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    Total Loss is an overwhelming album given the rollercoaster of emotions Krell goes through over the course of its 11 tracks.
  23. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    There's a delicacy, a deftness of touch throughout Total Loss that's wondrous.
  24. 80
    It's a less unified effort than its predecessor because of this, but more importantly, Krell treads new grounds.
  25. Sep 18, 2012
    70
    How to Dress Well still works best when Krell favors the more ethereal side of his music, blurring together his influences into something more unique.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Oct 5, 2012
    8
    This is my first time listening to Total Loss. Overall, I am glad I took a listen. Most of the songs reminded me alot of The Weeknd. It seems like this is the new spacey R&B style. Very easy to listen to as the vocals are carried by a variety of nice beats. An expert in the genre might dislike the production of the album, but the other 90% of the R&B audience will enjoy it! Full Review »
  2. Oct 3, 2012
    8
    While I really appreciate Krell's unique ambient spin, I find he really dominates when he lays down a spicy beat like on & It Was You. I like this even more than Love Remains, which is to say, a lot. Full Review »