Footnotes: How to Dress Well

September 20, 2012

Footnotes is the section in our magazine where we take a deeper look at the music surrounding our feature artists. Read Hank Shteamer's FADER #81 feature on How to Dress Well here, and check out our notes below.

How to Dress Well, “Ready for the World” Love Remains (Lefse 2010)
Not to get all emo, but I was recently trying to explain to a friend what How to Dress Well’s music meant to me, and the best thing I could come up with was that it approximated some kind of personal religion. “Ready for the World” hits me right at my core. That high trill that comes in to punctuate the song sounds like it’s about to blow out any speakers it gets near, and those vocals sound like you’re overhearing someone sing themselves through a breakdown from under the thin floorboards of a shitty apartment. It’s basically like eavesdropping on a secret, feeling guilty about it, and then realizing that secret actually unlocks some great life mystery, and that mystery is that life can be mostly awesome, but sometimes it sucks, and when it sucks, at least we’ve got songs like this. SHS

How to Dress Well, “Suicide Dream 2 (Orchestral Version)” Just Once EP (Yours Truly 2011)
Tom Krell recorded this EP and its signature song after the death of his best friend, which makes the warbling violin and church reverb feel deeply serious. But the truth is, a fan can feel an artist’s loss even if they’ve never lost anyone or anything themselves. Some people are just born with a gaping black hole, no rhyme or reason to their mourning. “Suicide Dream 2” is as much for them as it is for Krell’s deceased friend. Krell mines R&B’s universal pull better than anyone; a brief, clear vocal jaunt through Jordin Sparks’ “No Air” in the middle of the song makes her massive Top 40 hit feel like a personal eulogy for everyone you’ve ever left behind. AF

E+E, “The Dreem” (Internet 2011)
During the time Krell was working on Total Loss, he released a trilogy of emotional mixes—Love Yourself, Change Yourself and Live Yourself—cataloguing his pop obsessions amid extra-melancholy remixes. The star track of the entire package was LA call-boy-turned-ethereal-remixer E+E’s unusual version of The-Dream’s 2008 single “Rockin’ That Shit,” which replaced the song’s original R&B production with a slipstream of acoustic guitar and church bells. On Change Yourself, Krell mixed E+E’s take into the original, and when the beat finally hits in full, it’s like an avalanche down from heaven. It’s easy to see why he loves it, the ultimate pump-up track for those of us that start feeling soft. DC

Footnotes: How to Dress Well