We’ve locked ourselves in with a box of tissues for an emotional Friday Lock-in. This week’s record up for review is the third album by Tom Krell (aka. How To Dress Well) titled What Is This Heart? Listen along with us (by streaming here) as we discuss Celine Dion, tears and the many pleasures of a marching band.
2 Years On (Shame Dream)
Bianca: It takes me back to Christmas time as a child. It sounds like a Christmas carol.
Lizzie: I found myself tearing up a little bit.
Lizzie: Yeah, a little bit. I got emotional.
Sam: First song and we need the tissues already. I’m really torn, I love his voice but what an odd start to an album.
Lizzie: Yeah, it’s like at a One Direction concert where they sing their songs and then bring out the acoustic set.
Hannah: I love that his voice holds you there. I do question putting that as the first song though.
What You Wanted
Sam: I fricken love it.
Hannah: I adore it.
Lizzie: It’s JT, but just with so much more talent. At the start I thought it was going to go a bit slow but he just built it up and built it up and brought you into the song effortlessly.
Sam: Now the first song makes sense to me. It’s so layered.
Bianca: Ohhhh, once the synths come in I was so gone. That was sooooo good.
Hannah: I love how the vocals bounce between Destiny’s Child and TLC. They bounce, they cascade down. And then it has this dirty grimes bass with a twinkle above it.
Bianca: It’s a bit poetic isn’t it?
Sam: I feel like I can sing along early on. It’s got a pop quality but it’s also weird.
Lizzie: This one’s a bit darker than the other ones. The back sounds get broody but he’s still true to himself.
Bianca: it’s like BANKS‘ Drowning, where it has this demonic voice that’s behind the other voice.
Hannah: There’s this desperation that finishes off the end of his verses. The end of each sentence is throat, gut wrenching desperation.
Sam: It teeters on this edge where I feel like it’s going to fall off at any second.
Lizzie: It would be cool to see in the recording studio how into it he is.
Sam: He says things that I imagine I would say and they would sound really lame. I have to say I’m very happy to be third song in and still interested. Last week (Love Frequency Lock-in) I was already gone.
Hannah: Last week was dire. This one makes everyone drop about 5 inches.
Bianca: In a good way, of course.
See You Fall
Bianca: Speaking of getting low, that voice just drops.
Sam: When he says “fall” and there’s that deep voice under it. MWAH!
Lizzie: The strings is another thing you just don’t expect. He could ride a pretty good wave with his voice, it’s incredible. But he brings in new components to every song.
Hannah: Each one of his songs demonstrates an intricate knowledge of a lot of music genres. He’s really happy going between all of them. This is springy and poppy and happy but then when it starts talking about strange faces, there’s RnB/Hip-Hop.
Sam: When that throbbing bass comes in I’m just like “aww shit”. Love it. Lizzie this wouldn’t be something you’d generally listen to would it?
Lizzie: No. But it creates little experiences in your head that you don’t even think about. I wouldn’t usually listen to this but it makes me wanna have a happy time. Cry a bit more.
Sam: Disclaimer- Lizzie’s had a hard week.
Hannah: Still love it, still love it, still love it
Bianca: It’s nice to go to an album and hear a song you already know. It brings you back down to earth, you’re familiar with it and you can just…
Bianca: We finish each other’s…
Lizzie: It’s a good wake up in the morning and get-your-head-together song.
Hannah: I love that he cites Celine Dion. I love that he goes there.
Sam: It’s all these potentially tacky references, and he makes them fresh.
Hannah: Love that he goes there.
Words I Don’t Remember
Lizzie: This is not my favourite
Sam: Me neither
Lizzie: I don’t like that synth sound…It’s a great song and a 3am, sexy song but…
Sam: It’s not as rising as the other songs.
Lizzie: Yeah, it’s familiar electronic sounds but just nothing new.
Bianca: It makes the album a little tiring for me. 6 songs in and I’m feeling weary.
Bianca: Oh wait, it kinda got good at the end.
Sam: That one is literally almost making me tear up.
Lizzie: Welcome to the club, honey.
Bianca: My orchestra days are all coming back to me
Sam: Ahhhh the strings. And then his voice introduces this perfect melody.
Lizzie: It deserves its own movie. A movie needs to be made around this song. I feel like I wanna go chase my lover that I don’t have…before he boards the plane.
Bianca: Can we really underline the fact Lizzie’s had a bad week.
Sam: I love it. It’s so everything I love in a song. His is my music in an MP3. I love my white-boy RnB.
Lizzie: It’s not your typical RnB though. You kind of have to think. It’s a new modern, but slightly old and familiar.
Sam: There’s an 80s jingle behind it.
Bianca: I really like the kick-drum, the claps. The clap is infectious. 😉
Sam: This is the most mainstream in a way. It’s good to have the beat back to. Everything on the album is ever so slightly different.
Lizzie: It’s like a good fashion collection everything’s a little different but it all comes together.
Sam: Like ya classic LBD. Everybody needs a LBD.
Bianca: ‘How to dress well…’
Childhood Faith In Love (Everything Must Change)
Sam: This one’s all about the throb.
Lizzie: Yeah, I think I can go and do good things with my life now. I feel like it’s turned me.
Bianca: This album has just been a roller coaster of emotions.
Sam: I feel genuinely excited about this album.
Bianca: You know what? This isn’t my favourite of the album.
Sam: it’s not my favourite but I feel it’s necessary. I feel like every album needs ones that don’t pack a huge punch.
Lizzie: He loses his beautiful voice in this.
Sam: No, I like the reverb in it.
Sam: Again, I love that beat.
Lizzie: This whole album I could not listen to by myself. I find it too broody and emotive. It’s brilliant but this is an album I’d recommend. I want people to listen to it. But don’t get me alone with this album because I’ll break-down.
Sam: It’s interesting to watch how everybody reacts to it and it’s made it so much better for me.
Bianca: I’d have to be in the complete right mood for it.
Sam: It’s not a bus record.
Bianca: No. And it’s not a getting ready record either. Even though it is How To Dress Well. If I got dressed to this I would not dress well. Darkest clothes and think I really need to throw my whole wardrobe out.
Sam: The way this album builds. I’m dead…it’s the best reaction I’ve had to an album all year. I think it’s amazing.
Very Best Friend
Sam: This one doesn’t pack a punch for me.
Lizzie: in the last song we were in our comfort zone and we needed something to push us to the end. At the start, the Flume-y skip gave us something.
Sam: I love the vocal break-down though.
Lizzie: You realise the corniness of the lyrics.
Sam: There’s too much space.
Bianca: I prefer Foster The People‘s Best Friend.
House Inside (Future Is Older than the Past)
Bianca: Such a good climax.
Lizzie: He’s done what every artist should do on an album. It was cyclical. He closed it off well. Althouht here was a bit of a clusterfuck with instruments after the start. The ending is beautiful.
Bianca: The marching band brought it home.
Sam: I felt like we’d reached the top of the mountain and we were all holding hands and hugging. You guys had mascara dripping down your face. That slow song that didn’t make sense at the start suddenly makes total sense. What an album.
Lizzie: I’m going to give it 8.5
Bianca: Agree. 8.5
Sam: I’m going to give it 9.5. I think it’s the best album of the year so far.
Hannah: I’m with you, Samos. 9.5. Touchdown!