What Is This Heart? - How to Dress Well
What Is This Heart? Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length release for Tom Krell was produced by Rodaidh McDonald.
  • Record Label: Weird World
  • Genre(s): R&B, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative R&B
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 91
    Though it never quite comes through crystal-clear, the intensity and sincerity of the underlying emotion manages to bleed through a confusing swirl of altered sounds.
  2. Jun 19, 2014
    Though his voice can sound a little insipid, songs such as A Power, Face Again and What You Wanted possess satisfying bass rumbles and earworm hooks.
  3. Jul 2, 2014
    It's an album constructed from the simplest of elements: muted keyboards chords, pained falsetto vocals and Krell's greatest weapon of all: near silence. [Aug 2014, p.108]
  4. 70
    Krell’s voice could never get tiresome, but the album seems unclear as to what it wants to be--too restless for heartbreak, too downbeat for the dancefloor, like a candle that’s trying to illuminate a club.
  5. Jun 25, 2014
    As intellectual and introverted as Krell often is, he’s at his best when he and the music simply let go. What Is This Heart? delivers in the second half when nearly every song peaks with exuberant finales.
  6. Jun 24, 2014
    Krell's third LP continues to elevate his R&B-inflected music into sonic clarity, though his emotions remain muddled as ever.
  7. Jul 18, 2014
    What Is This Heart? certainly isn't done any favors by Krell's stock, dejection-by-the-numbers lyricism and the baring of his overextended falsetto against the array of muted synths, strings and drum machines that crop up from song to song, as the album cycles through every tired adult-contemporary R&B trope in the book. [No. 111, p.55]

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jun 24, 2014
    There comes a time every so often when you stumble upon something extraordinary. In this case, How To Dress Well's (aka Tom Krell's) third studio album exceeds any and all expectations put before it. From the twinkling piano opening of "2 Years On (Shame Dream)" to the soul-wrenching outbursts on "Words I Don't Remember", Krell may have one of the most awe-inspiring albums of recent memory. It squeezes itself among other emotional releases like Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago and James Blake's Overgrown, revealing the innermost feelings of a haunted man.

    Dealing with love and the heartbreak that comes with it, How To Dress Well blows any other wannabe R&B artists out of the water. He crushes every track, offering a sharp and poignant interpretation of his emotions. Whether it be by screaming "I don't even know what's best for me" on "Face Again" or wanting more time with those he loves on "Precious Love", there is no limit to Krell's capabilities. To other artists such as Sam Smith who doesn't quite have love songs figured out, take some pointers from How To Dress Well.
  2. Jul 18, 2014
    Less lo-fi and sketchy and more of the polished How To Dress Well project from Tom Krell. Either way, "What Is This Heart?" is certainly one of the most beautiful Pop and Alternative R&B records to come out this year and on longer run!

    As every album, every release with Tom Krell, he surrounds himself with shattered and heartfelt tunes. More than ever, dealing with heartbreak and capturing his own cloud filling atmosphere to sing around.
    "What Is This Heart?" is like one trip to LA's Magic Mountain, it is intriguing, haunting but on another note dark, most vulnerable and alone yet leaving a listener strong thus it's surface.
    Melodies brighter and heavier, less tentative and bolder and more of an accomplished piece of work for Krell's already brilliant but odd discography. The songs have taking a stretch, a new key to play as the orchestral beauty, depthful and hurt "Pour Cyril" whom easily could had it's place on a Terrence Malick picture or any optional international drama film. And the six minute long of straightforward but heart-hitting, chopped love letter of "Words I Don't Remember" that could aspire in awe an audience of young romance as depressing but joyous and living as movies like "The Fault in Our Stars".

    Songs that were hanging as ideas and fast in and outs on earlier LPs, feel more complete on this new set of tracks.
    “Pop, but not populist” - HTDW, in other words, to slight different context. Yes, it is more "Pop" than material from say the groundbreaking debut "Love Remains" that initially paved a way for new alternative/sub-genre up-comers (see; The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Miguel, etc..). The R&B and darkness still lays it's part, though lighter on executes as "Very Best Friend" it may bell in, which with title alone could be a hint to the 90s cut "Best Friend" featured the late-songstress Aaliyah and musician Missy Elliott. But on this round, poppier and bouncy electronica with "My very best friend.." through out the chorus I guess.
    With artists mentioned as such Frank Ocean, who managed to find a spot in the mainstream without sacrificing the-ir definite of art, is it a matter of time just till we see Tom Krell and his outfit as How To Dress Well to dominance a role in the new wave of R&B (or, see PBR&B) he set a scene for and up-lifted in the late 2000s. Or is the sound behind too weird and bearing with his spooky vocals and falsetto?

    None man can tell.

    Still on the third album in, "What Is This Heart?" delivers catchy and touching performances on top of striking instrumentals with many of this years best tracks (see; "Face Again" an anguish Krell over a schizo lyrically and sonically race on distorted, heart-raising industrial production [singers take on Death Grips a la] through pure pain).
    This is the underground but "big-budget" record that varies from Wes Anderson's playful and sugar-sweet dialogue sequences to an end third of Tarantino's Django.
    A must experience for 2014, an inspiring and influential experience that leave marks!
  3. Jul 7, 2014
    Tom Krell стареет и перестает шаманить с голосами и сэмплировать Майкла Джексона. Теперь он уходит в 80-е и развлекается то с пляжными гитарками, то с минорными струнными. Expand
  4. Jul 16, 2014
    This is, in my opinion, his best album yet. It has more emotion and more flair. The music is subtle, creating a beautiful contrast with the strong lyrics.

    There are many tracks here that I enjoyed, but I think my favorites would be “What You Wanted”, “Childhood Faith in Love”, and “Very Best Friend”.