Overdue Review...But Still Worthwhile!
Posted March 24, 2011
Three years since his last full-length album, “Welcome to Diverse City,” former dc Talk member tobyMac comes back in 2007 with “Portable Sounds,” an album in classic tobyMac form with his mix of hip-hop, rock, reggae, and everything in-between. Sure to be a hit among many old and hopefully new tobyMac fans, “Portable Sounds,” will prove to be a sure competitor in favorite albums by the highly creative and stylistic lyricist, producer, and father (more on that later).
The album consistent of 13 unique tracks starts with what will be a great live hit on his upcoming tour. “One World” features Joanna Valencia and with its groovy beat and hip-hop sound, “One World” will bring many to their feet. His first single from the album released to radio, “Made To Love”, comes second on the CD and having incorporated the hit in his “Winter Wonder Slam” tour, the song has already many people singing the ‘Na Na Na Na’ that is followed by a great reggae beat. By no means does Toby stop with the hits as he presents “Boomin.’” Lyrically the song brings reference to the wonderful diversity that he made apparent on his previous album, uniting everyone in the bass driven song. Once the song is finished, however, the track reveals an opera track sung by none other than Season 5 American Idol finalist Mandisa. This wouldn’t be her only appearance on this album.
Many of the other songs, such as “Face Of The Earth,” might remind some of Paul Wright, an artist signed on tobyMac’s record label, Gotee Records. It’s reminiscent groove talks about Jesus wanting us to open up the door He is knocking so that he may come into our life. And again…the end of the track presents us with a hint of the next song to come in a humorous fashion. That song, No Ordinary Love, features Nirva Dorsaint-Ready and balances the album out on a mellower level, starting with its brass intro, having followed “Face Of The Earth,” only to be brought back up in beat and guitar-driven rock with “Ignition,” lighting up the album once again with a rock/reggae/hip-hop beat, presenting the massive creative genius behind tobyMac’s albums.
Following “Ignition” is Toby’s son, Truett, as his alter-ego truDog, bringing an older version of the truDog from Toby’s previous album, taking control of his own track and making one wonder if he’ll outdo his dad someday. The next couple tracks again balance out the hype of the previous tracks only to again raise the house with “Feelin’ So Fly,” another hopeful hit that can again be an easy live hit. Nearing the end of the album, “No Signal” is a short reggae track only to be followed up by the closing track of the album, “Lose My Soul.” The concluding track features Kirk Franklin and Mandisa, reflecting on the business they all are part of and focuses on how though they may be lifted up among the masses by the public, they ‘don’t want to gain the whole world and lose’ their souls.
Overall, the album is one that has a large replay value among tobyMac and dcTalk fans. There are some personal preferences when it comes to the music of the album, hence the reason for the rating, however, this is by far an album one should add to their Christian music collection for enjoyment now and when the Mac comes to town.
Review Written By: Mike Laxton on 2/10/2007 from ChristianMusicReview.org
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