If you're a huge Toto fan, you've probably read the multiple reviews by now about Toto's long awaited project; Toto XIV.
The majority of those reviews touch on Toto's album history, with and without Bobby Kimball, band personnel changes, albums favorites, etc.
My focus?. . . is to talk about this album. PERIOD
Let me just say tho, I think there are several types of Toto fans out there. . .
- The Hardcore who know everything about Toto from A to Z
- Those that think "Toto IV" is the best Toto album and no Toto LP can compare to it
- The "No one will ever replace Bobby Kimball" group
- and the "yeah, I like some of their songs and have bought an album or two"
Truth be known, I stopped listening to them after "IV." Didn't mean I didn't like them, just was into other types of music.
But those 4 albums were my "go to's" when I needed a "Toto fix." And remain so.
And then there are the people who just listened to them on the radio. . .
So to fans who have have an album or two or are radio listeners. . .
THOSE are the people I want to speak to!!! Are you listening?
YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ALBUM!!!!!
These guys have created one HELL of a piece of work that I feel is very timely as our generation and the younger Gen Y and Z are looking at 80's music more seriously. It's also my opinion that we are looking at a Billboard Hot 100 as well as several hits from this album.
Running Out of Time
21st Century Blues
Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey)
The Little Things
All The Tears That Shine
Bonus Track on Japanese release: Bend
From the first 30 secs of Running Out of Time, the essence of the late 70's and 80's rock is so prevalent. New technology mixed with going back to old roots is what I feel on this track. The chorus definitely has that "anthem" feel to it. Everyone shines here. Harmonies are tight. I love the bass. . straight forward and coming at you hard, which is provided by bassist; Tim Lefevbre. Steve P kicks butt on the synth! Man, I cannot get over on his parts. I've had to listen to those secs of his solos over and over!! Keith Carlock, favored touring drummer for Steely Dan and Donald Fagen, sets the tone for this track. What can I say about Steve Lukather that hasn't already been said? The guy is a monster on his axe! Amazing!!!! His playing between verses reminds me of Roy Mitchell-Cardenas of Mutemath. Seriously, this track has that "get in your car, open those windows, open up that roof, put on those sunglasses and drive that baby FAST and play it LOUD" feel. And that's just the music!! The message? Sounds like it's about accessing one's life and whether the cost paid has been worth it, be it, in or out of the corporate world.
The second track is Burn
One of my favorite bass artists; Leland Sklar, guests on this track. He is a long time friend of these guys and I am happy he was invited to be a part of this project.
Quite the message here. Not sure but sounds like it might be about someone suffering from either mental illness or pride and the writer wishing they could break through that "tower" saying they would burn it down for love. A very strong song that I could see on a movie soundtrack. David Paich's playing is so poignant and moving. The vision of fire flames can been seen in my mind as I hear Paich's playing towards the end. The hook is the bridge. Definitely that rock/pop feel.
Holy War is another driving song!!! I think I might be driving my car a little to fast on this one. : )
I Love this song. This is straight up Toto Rock! And you can feel it with David Hungate on bass. It's that Toto sound!
Can I just say that I owe Joseph Williams an huge apology for thinking in my mind that no one could replace Bobby Kimball? Listening to Joseph's vocals on this track seriously brings tears to my eyes at my own pride of thinking.
Man. . . Joseph, you are killing it here!!! I am a fan for life. Your vocals are stellar!!
The message if you haven't realized it by now is killing in the name of religion.
Gotta go back to this tho. . . Joseph is the star on this one!! I want to run outside and belt this one out. LOVE IT!!
21st Century Blues
The blues in full color!
The chorus is engrained in my mind. The rhythm of it is catchy. . . "How can we believe the world is round. I just can't conceive it. From all we see and hear the truth has drowned. It's all but disappeared. How can we believe the world is round. It's hard to perceive it. Shake Your head and scream but there's no sound. We got the 21st Century Blues."
With this track being so heavy, I'm not sure if I have the right to have the blues when all I want to do is sashay to this sexy rhythm. What a fantastic song!! I love Lukather's recollections of the old days. Especially when he mentions the amount of channels we had back in the day. In L.A. we had more than 3 in the 60's but I can remember when I grew up in Palm Springs, in the 70's and early 80's. If you didn't have cable in the early 80's, you really did have 3 channels. But the song is more than that. Steve Lukather is calling it the way he sees: we are living in strange times. Great message. Sax man, Tom Scott is the icing on this one. Hungate's bass. . . .man, I have missed him!!! What can I say?? Vocals are beautiful and full! CJ Vanston takes over on the piano at the end with one bluesy vamp. Lukather's playing is beyond stellar.
It's seems like everyone on this project has something to say about today's world and making us more aware that there is more to life than just living for yourself. And Orphan is no exception. This song is about coming from nothing and finding that you are somebody. Such a great motivational song! The message being. . . we are never alone. The driving force is the incredible percussion provided by Keith Carlock and Lenny Castro! Lukather is not only on bass here on this track but the next.
Unknown Solder (For Jeffrey). This song was written in memory of drummer and founding member Jeff Porcaro who had a love for the history of the Civil War. The message; not much has changed. Soldiers continue to fight and die for their country. We continue to have unknown soldiers to this day. Can't help but feel that this track has the essence of 70's rock band "Kansas." Beautiful Cello provided by Martin Tillman. "Choral" vocals on here include Michael McDonald and Amy Keys. Great song.
The Little Things is written by Steve Porcaro and Allee Willis. Allee is known for writing some great great songs, like EW&F's "Boogie Wonderland," Pointer Sister's "Neutron Dance," and even co-writer for Friend's theme "I'll Be There For You."
This track is very touching. Could be about a love lost, could be about friends, could be about kids. Could be about all of the above. For me, with two of my kids out of the house and more at home, this song has me looking back on myself as a mom of 5 little ones and how much I felt I missed out while trying to just "do and be." Later, as they've all grown, looking at their photos and wishing I could go back and somehow relive some of their precious moments.
Steve P's vocals truly capture the feeling of this song. What an incredible vocalist. His tone sounds so young. . .like that of a 20 or 30 something year old guy. Ending with just him singing is almost tear jerking. And even at this writing, one of my daughters comes up to hug me, reminding me of she and her twin's birthday coming up where they will turn 17. This song playing. . . feeling my once little one next to me. . . tears stream down my face. The Little Things is forever the soundtrack of this moment.
Chinatown: Written about the Red Light District from a young man's perspective. This is old old Toto and or Boz Scaggs here. You, who loved Toto's early album, especially the self titled and Hydra albums are in for a treat!! Written by David Paich and Michael Sherwood back in the late 70's, it was kept in the archives. I am soooo glad it has been unearthed!! It's like discovering an old photo of a relative you've never met. With David Hungate on bass and Steve L / David Paich on vocals, Paich on piano, Steve P on piano, Lenny Castro on percussion, Tom Scott on sax, it's like "hail, hail, the gangs all here!" Not to dismiss everyone's else involvement. Joseph kills it when he belts his vocals. Everyone is incredible on this track. This will be one of my "go to's!"
All The Tears That Shine is another song written by Michael Sherwood and David Paich. A beautiful tribute of an imperfect love relationship, whether lost, still there or trying to get back to it. Tal Wilkenfeld supplies her bass skills here on this track as well as Paich on Stand up Bass. This song is honest and poignant, I could see singing this to a couple who have made it through decades without killing each other and lived to tell about it! HA!! Lots of tears shed on this one. Beautiful.
Bassist; Tal Wilkenfeld is great on this track! If you don't know who she is, look her up! Fortune is written by Joseph and seems this track is about fear of being vulnerable, so avoiding love is the only option. Background vocals are strong and tight, supplied by Michael McDonald and Amy Keys, as well as Lukather and Joseph. Michael McDonald vamps a bit at the end.
Great Expectations is a few songs rolled into one. David Paich wrote the first 30 seconds, years ago. Just something he was playing with and put aside. Those 30 seconds of piano and Paich singing, pulls at my heart strings. This song definitely takes me back to the track "Hydra." Doesn't sound like it, but has the feel of it. To me, anyway. And yet, this track is almost something like out of a Yes album, with several changes going on. A jam session. The lyrics have what I feel is like a warrior's anthem. 7 mins of unbelievable ear candy for your soul!
The Japanese release has a bonus track. Bend sung by Steve Porcaro and penned by Steve and Michael Sherwood. I have no words to describe it. It's so beautiful. The movements of the music are played to describe the title. . . with bends coming from the instruments. I wish this had been on the U.S. release.
I love it when I can listen to an album from beginning to end. Concerning my four Toto albums, I felt I could only do that with Toto I and Hydra. I found myself bouncing around tracks on Turn Back and IV.
Toto XIV has been played from the first track to the last; over and over. Cannot wait to get my hands on the vinyl release so I can play it old school.
How can I describe what you'll feel?
I think this is the only way.
This is how I feel. . .
But if I can be honest, it took me a few listens before I fell in love with it. My husband attested to what I said as well.
So if you don't like it the first time around, just give it a chance.
I really think this album is Grammy worthy.
Although, Kanye might have something to say about that! ; )
TOTO IS BACK!!!!
My pet peeve. . . can't find who is playing on what track. So here you go. . .
RUNNING OUT OF TIME (S. Lukather / D. Paich / J. Williams) Drums: Keith Carlock · Bass: Tim Lefevbre · Guitar: Steve Lukather · Piano: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro · Additional synths: CJ Vanston Lead vocal: Joseph Williams · BG vocals: Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams, Jamie Savco
BURN (J. Williams / D. Paich) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: Lee Sklar · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Keyboards: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro Additional synths: CJ Vanston · Lead Vocal: Joseph Williams · BG vocals: Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams, Jamie Savko, CJ Vanston, Emma Williams, Keith Carlock, David Paich · Hand drumming on leather bench: Joseph Williams
HOLY WAR (S. Lukather / CJ Vanston / J. Williams) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: David Hungate · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Piano/Organ: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro · Additional keyboards: CJ Vanston · Lead Vocal: Joseph Williams · BG Vocals: Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
21ST CENTURY BLUES (S. Lukather / CJ Vanston) Drums: Keith Carlock · Bass: David Hungate · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Piano/Organ: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro, CJ Vanston · End vamp piano, additional synths: CJ Vanston · Lead vocal: Steve Lukather · BG vocals: Joseph Williams, Amy Keys · Saxes, horn arrangement: Tom Scott
ORPHAN (D. Paich / J. Williams / S. Lukather) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass & Guitars: Steve Lukather · Keyboards: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro · Additional synths: CJ Vanston · Additional keyboards: Joseph Williams · Lead Vocal: Joseph Williams · BG vocals: Mabvuto Carpenter, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
UNKNOWN SOLDIER (FOR JEFFREY) (D. Paich / S. Lukather) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: Steve Lukather · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Keyboards: David Paich · Additional synths: CJ Vanston · Lead vocal: Steve Lukather · BG vocals: Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Joseph Williams, Steve Lukather · Cello: Martin Tillman
THE LITTLE THINGS (S. Porcaro / A. Willis) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: David Hungate · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Keyboards: Steve Porcaro · Lead Vocal: Steve Porcaro · BG vocals: Joseph Williams · Cello: Martin Tillman
CHINATOWN (D. Paich / M. Sherwood) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: David Hungate · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Keyboards: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro · Lead Vocals: Steve Lukather, David Paich, Joseph Williams · BG Vocals: Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams · Saxes: Tom Scott
ALL THE TEARS THAT SHINE (D. Paich / M. Sherwood) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Stand up Bass: David Paich Electric Bass: Tal Wilkenfeld · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Piano/Keyboards: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro · Lead vocal: David Paich BG vocals: Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
FORTUNE (J. Williams) Drums: Keith Carlock · Percussion: Lenny Castro · Bass: Tal Wilkenfeld · Guitars: Steve Lukather · Piano: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro Additional synths: CJ Vanston · Keyboards: Joseph Williams · Lead Vocal: Joseph Williams · BG Vocals: Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (D. Paich / J. Williams / S. Lukather) Drums: Keith Carlock · Bass & Guitars: Steve Lukather · Piano/Organ/Keyboards: David Paich · Synths: Steve Porcaro Additional synths: CJ Vanston · Lead vocal: David Paich, Joseph Williams, Steve Lukather · BG vocals: Mabvuto Carpenter, Jamie Savko, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams
BEND - Japan Bonus Track (M. Sherwood / S. Porcaro) Piano / Synths / Vocals