Hot New Joint: "Lost Youth/Lost You" by How to Dress Well

It’s kind of amazing to look back over the last six years and track the progression of Tom Krell, the artist who began releasing enigmatic, ethereal lo-fi R&B under the moniker How to Dress Well in 2010. Following the release of his cavernous, claustrophobic debut Love Remains, he continues to grow as an artist with each subsequent album, and push himself closer to the forefront of the music he makes.

I thought we had kind of peaked with his masterful 2014 album What is This Heart? but with the forthcoming new album, Care, and its first single “Lost Youth/Lost You,” Krell continues to redefine the music he’s making, something that, for lack of a better description, I tend to call “pop music for adults.”

Based on this song along, Care is poised to be a gigantic artistic statement for Krell—even more so than his previous works. Working with myriad producers, manning the boards for “Lost Youth” is Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers fame, as well as most recently known for co-writing songs with Taylor Swift.

Right out of the gate, the song sounds huge—from its hard-hitting percussive samples and sequencing, dense layering of synthesizers, a searing, guitar solo during the song’s mid-section, and multi-tracking of Krell’s vocals, which are about the clearest and most direct they’ve ever been; long gone are the days of hiding behind endless reverb as he continues to step into his own as a performer.

A break-up song dressed up in the disguise of a slow, slinking pop song, “Lost Youth” is incredibly smooth and well executed, built around an infectious hook—“I think I know what love is now. I think I got it figured out. But the second that I open my mouth, I want to change my heart again.”

Lyrically, Krell continues to use evocative, raw, and fragmented imagery—something that he’s been doing since the early days of How to Dress Well, and it’s something he only continues to grow into with each album; the most poignant being the song’s central idea: “I lost youth when I lost you.

Given the two-year gaps between How to Dress Well albums, and some hints Krell had been dropping on Twitter as of late, I presumed a new release was coming this year, and given my reception of 2012’s Total Loss and 2014’s What is This Heart?, as well as the promise of what this new single holds, Care just became my most anticipated release for the remainder of 2016, providing one thing I can actually look forward to as well as proof of the power of good, thought-provoking pop music and what it can do in the hands of someone incredibly capable.

Care arrives on Sept. 23rd on standard LP, 2xLP, and compact disc via Weird World/Domino.