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This Is Not A Test (Deluxe Edition) by TobyMac  | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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This Is Not A Test (Deluxe Edition) [edit]
by TobyMac | Genre: Pop/Rock | Release Date: August 07, 2015

The new studio album from TobyMac, This Is Not A Test, features the hit single “Beyond Me.” One of Christian music's best-selling artists, TobyMac continues to successfully blend elements of rock, pop, and hip hop. His music reflects real life struggles, his faith and passionately pursuing God. His current album, the Gold-Certified Eye On It, featured 3 Top 10 hit singles including "Me Without You," "Steal My Show," and the No. 1 song "Speak Life."

Track Listing
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.
01. Like A Match
02. Backseat Driver (feat. Hollyn & TRU)
03. This Is Not A Test (feat. Capital Kings)
04. Lights Shine Bright (feat. Hollyn)
05. Til The Day I Die (feat. NF)
06. Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox)
07. Move (Keep Walkin)
08. Love Broke Thru
09. Beyond Me
10. Love Feels Like (feat. DC Talk)
11. Undeniable
12. Lift You Up (feat. Ryan Stevenson) (Deluxe Edition)
13. Fall (Deluxe Edition)
14. Beyond Me (Phenomenon Remix by Soul Glow Activatur) (Deluxe Edition)
15. Like A Match (Garcia Remix) (Deluxe Edition)

Entry last edited by BraddenFord_NRT on 04.28.17

Christian CD Reviews
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Eclectic Innovation | Posted August 03, 2015
He's an innovator, a dreamer. He's been at the frontlines of Christian music since the early 90s, and he shows no signs of slowing his momentum anytime soon. TobyMac's signature rap/hip-hop style has evolved over the years, each album slightly different than the last, keeping us guessing. Toby has long been known for his love of diversity, and fans have come to expect an eclectic mix of flavors from his musical pot of gumbo. 

This Is Not A Test is a hybrid of sorts. The album combines a more seasoned and polished form of the slower-paced, radio-single style that Toby began in Eye On It with a few more of his coveted hip-hop tracks. In many ways it's comparable to the ebb and flow of Portable Sounds and Tonight.

As one of the founding fathers of Christian hip-hop, Toby is the perfect mentor for up-and-coming artists with a dream. He has a passion for young talent and takes pride in featuring that talent on his albums. The title track, "This Is Not A Test," spotlights another heart-pumping collaboration with his protégés from Gotee Records, Capital Kings. An electro-rock mix that will undoubtedly be a hit at concerts, this song encourages us to make the most out of the life we're given as we only get one shot at it. 

Ryan Stevenson adds some killer vocals to "Lift You Up" while Mr. Talkbox brings the funk to latest single "Feel It." Newcomer rap phenomenon NF spits some impressive (and soul-searching) lyrics on the rap/rock infused "Till the Day I Die." And you can't have a TobyMac album without a Tru-Dog track, right? This time, fans are in for a treat when Toby's son Truett throws down some lyrics of his own on the hip-hop-tastic "Backseat Driver," a fun, dance-worthy track that reminds us to let God take control of our life rather than trying to offer our input into His plans.

Then we have "Love Feels Like." In this track, Toby reunites with his dc Talk bandmates Michael Tait and Kevin Max, a collaboration for which fans have been pleading for over a decade. The song has a classic dc Talk feel with an evolved, modern twist, basically picking up where the band's Supernatural album left off. We hear Toby shouting out rap lines like the old days, with Kevin and Michael singing on the verses. Obviously a team-up of this magnitude comes with a high bar of expectations from die-hard fans. I guarantee that this song will exceed those expectations.

The album also contains an element of old soul in "Move (Keep Walkin')" and even a bit of worship in the smooth, milky "Undeniable" in which Toby combines vocals on the chorus with slow rap on the verses. In "Fall," Toby sings a sweet love song to his wife, Amanda.

Closing Thoughts:
This Is Not A Test contains an overarching theme of dependence on the Almighty, reminding us to check our pride at the door of our heart and give glory to our Creator for everything He pulls us through. It contains a healthy mixture of soul, funk, hip-hop, rap and even some sugary pop tunes. Toby serves us some songs worthy of repeat and proves once again that he's got what it takes to top the charts.

Song to Download Now:
"Backseat Driver" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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Return of the Edge | Posted July 22, 2015
TobyMac struck gold with his 2012 release Eye On It. Adding to a mile long list of achievements in his 25+ year career, the massive success of singles "Me Without You," "Steal My Show" and "Speak Life" helped propel him to levels once thought impossible for anyone in Christian music, including an overall #1 charting album on the Billboard Top 200. 

While the album was well received by listeners and critics, longtime fans of the once-upon-a-time rapper widely panned the album for his unabashed shift into the pop circuit, with very little urban influences felt through the project. As someone who also loves the more diverse aspects of Toby's style, I'll admit it became a sore spot as time went on.

Three years later, with yet another offering from the CCM pioneer on the horizon, both old and new fans are wondering: what's next?

This Is Not A Test brings back the eclectic musical edge TobyMac is known for that many listeners have been waiting a long time to see reappear. The album meshes the best of his pop sensibilities with some subtle nods to his once forthright hip-hop roots.

Gaining Momentum:
A song like "Backseat Driver" is a good example of what can happen when Toby blends several elements rather than focusing on just one. Featuring a now all grown up TruDog (aka teenage son Truett) and new Gotee Records signee Hollyn, the upbeat song talks about letting God take the wheel in our ever changing lives.

The standout track "Lights Shine Bright" also features Hollyn. Her breezy, soulful pop vocals paired with Toby's whimsical delivery make this bubbly song irresistibly fun (mark my words: Hollyn is going to draw CCM comparisons to Ariana Grande).

"Til The Day I Die" features up and coming rap artist NF in a blazing feature as this gritty, pointed tune splices with a theatrical drama unlike anything we've seen Toby do in quite some time. Think Jay Z meets EDM.  

An unexpected gem is found on "Love Broke Thru," channeling an Americana vibe and syncing it with the classic style of synth beats Toby is known for: "I did all that I could to undo me, but You loved me enough to pursue me." 

Of course when it was mentioned that this album would feature the first reemergence of dc Talk since Kevin Max's "The Cross" back in 2007, fans took notice. Let's not pretend "Love Feels Like" isn't the first song you're skipping to!

The song is more than fans have could have expected it to be. Kevin's soaring vibrato, Michael Tait's leather pipes and Toby's signature punchy rhyming create a modern day marriage any and all dc Talk fans should be both excited and proud to see continue-- even if it's just for one song. 

The "Funky" Jesus Music: 
For the handful of hits being presented here, there are a few glaring misses. 

Lead single "Beyond Me" is alright on its own, but in context quickly breaks the creative flow the rest of the album has worked so hard to develop, becoming a weak link despite a strong first string. And while "Undeniable" is no doubt a fantastic song, resurrecting Toby's harder edge of days gone by, let's be real: it sounds almost a little too familiar (think Grits' "Ooh Ahh"). 

The press conference bridge between "Lights Shine Bright" and "Til The Day I Die" feels forced. The puns are all old hat, and as much as I missed the comedic interludes on his last record, this one just feels unnecessary. 

Closing Thoughts: 
TobyMac is the reigning king of Christian pop, and there isn't much wrong he could do that would revoke his title, even if there have been moments on his past two albums that put his creativity in question. That being said, This Is Not A Test firmly solidifies Toby's place in the industry and proves that he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

Fresh, diverse and incredibly relevant, this is easily his best work since Portable Sounds. Is this going to be a CCM game changer? Probably not. But is it a game changer in the career of TobyMac? I can assure you that it is. 

Song To Download Now: 
"Lights Shine Bright" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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This is Not A Test (Deluxe Editon) Album Review | Posted December 17, 2017
In my opinion, this is the best TobyMac album that exists! Til the Day I Die (feat. NF) is my absolute favorite song ever! If you like a mix of electronic, funk, rap, rock, and contemporary, then you will definately love this album! The deluxe version is definately worth buying. It has two new original songs and two new remixes. This album is amazing!

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TobyMac "This is Not a Test" Song by Song Review | Posted August 11, 2015
I absolutely love TobyMac's music. His live shows are incredible, but even more amazing is the way he glorifies God through his lyrics, his passion, and his life. Here is a song by song review of TobyMac's new album- the deluxe edition. God bless!
1. Like A Match
This song has a similiar message to "Burn for You" and "Catch-a-fire" which is about being a light for Jesus. I really love the line in this song that says, "If it's real, we gotta show it; and if it's not, they gonna know it." Being a Christian is more than just saying I believe or singing a song. It's living for Christ on a daily basis "for the world to see". If our faith in God is real and true, then we should want to share it with the world. This is such a great reminder for Christians to let the light of Jesus shine.
2. Backseat Driver (feat. Hollyn and Tru)
The message in this song is astounding. "I don't wanna be no backseat driver.... I don't wanna navigate the way, Lord, take it over..." I naturally love to be in charge and to do things my way, but this song is such a great reminder that God knows best. I don't want to be driving and put God in the backseat. I want to follow God's lead and be content in the backseat. Up-and-coming artist Hollyn takes over the chorus and she has a wonderful voice. I was really excited to see Tobymac's son, Tru on verse 2 though. His voice has matured so much over the years and he's really becoming quite the rapper. Not to mention the fact, that he's 16 and I'm 16- the age when driving is typically on the mind.
3. This is Not a Test (feat. Capital Kings)
I first heard this song live from the K-Love Fan Awards stream. Tobymac and Capital Kings are all amazing, but when together, it's an incredible thing! I love how rock and EDM meet in this song. There was a poster in my grade school music classroom that said "Your life is a stage and the world is watching". That quote and this song have the same message: We don't get to rehearse life- we're in live action every day. That's why it's so important to make every moment count for God.
4. Lights Shine Bright (feat. Hollyn)
I love songs that include whisper parts. The message in this song is great too- about reflecting God and letting our light shine for Him. The second verse rap is very cool. I love the ending interview session with Jamie Grace asking about a DC Talk reunion, someone asking about Mr. Talkbox, then the final question was "Toby, you've been doing this for a while. How much do you think you have in you?- which leads perfectly to the next song- TobyMac's answer to that question.
5. Til the Day I Die (feat. NF)
I love TobyMac's commitment to serve God til the very end. It can be easy to get discouraged because things aren't working the way you thought, you feel tired, people say you're too young/old, etc., but the truth is God wants to use us in amazing ways if we're willing to follow Him. I want to serve God til the day I die- and then go to be with Him and serve Him even more. I love the lines "blood, sweat, tears, it's a calling/ And if I can't walk then I'm crawling". To me, this shows that living for God isn't always easy, but it's so worth it.
6. Feel It (feat. Mr. Talkbox)
The first part of this song reminds me of the concept of Me Without You: "When I sit back and imagine life without You I can't fathom how I ever thought I'd make it on my own". I love when artists revisit themes in new and exciting ways. TobyMac said, regarding this song, that you can't see the wind but you see it's affects and you feel it. The same is true for God. We don't physically see Him, but we see all He's done and all He's doing and feeling Him is so amazing. I love the line that says, "You take our brokenness and make us beautiful". The fact that God's able to use our weakness for His strengh is so amazing. This song is such a great reminder that God's there and that He's moving in ways we don't always see.
7. Move (Keep Walkin')
I love the soul-feel of this song. It reminds me a little of "Irene" and is a very good fit. This song reminds us that no matter how things are, it's not over. We are soldiers of the Lord who can put our hope in the promises He's made.
8. Love Broke Thru
This song's style is really interesting. I don't think I could hit the high notes in the chorus- but they're really well done. This song is testimony-style telling about how love broke through when Jesus first comes into our hearts. I love the line that says, "I've done all that I could to undo me, but You loved me enough to pursue me." It's amazing that no matter how we've messed up, God still loves us and wants us to grow closer to Him.
9. Beyond Me
I was able to attend Tobymac's concert in November 2014 when he debuted this song. I love how true this song is. God is way beyond me- way beyond anything I can do or think of or beyond anything I can imagine. I love the part that says "You gave me the stars but put them out of my reach; called me to waters a little too deep." Seeing the beauty and depth of natures shows us even more how beyond us God is and how incredible He is. I think this is a great song to have as a life motto. TobyMac says his prayer is "God breathe something through me that's beyond me." I hope that we can all apply that prayer to our lives because God's plans are out-of-this-world amazing!
10. Love Feels Like (feat. DC Talk)
It's been 20 years now since Jesus Freak's release, but these three can still bring it. I've heard many comments and excitement regarding this song and the hope of a DC Talk reunion. Although I'm not sure whether that will happen or not, this song is incredible! I love how they were able to capture old-school DC Talk feel with their latest musical choices as well. God's love is amazing and DC Talk has captured it perfectly in this song.
11. Undeniable
TobyMac also shared this song in tour way back in November. "Undeniable" is similiar to "Lose My Soul" and "Made to Love" in the rap verses and singing choruses.  I love the honest real-life feel of the verses and the worshipful chorus. I love the line "You're the bright and morning star and still You speak to my heart". God is so high, so worthy of our praise, yet He longs to know and love us. I also love the line "You're the argument I'm never losing". People will always try to say that God's dead, isn't real, etc. But that's not true. God is undeniable- He's real- He's amazing- and His word is always true.
12. Lift You Up (feat. Ryan Stevenson)
Ryan Stevenson has amazing music and actually wrote Speak Life with TobyMac. I think they both sound very good together. Honestly, I can't always tell the difference when they sing because their voices harmonize so perfectly. I really like the line "We're gonna lift You up cause You never let us down."
13. Fall
This is a love song that TobyMac wrote for his wife, Amanda. My favorite line is "I fall for you again- every time just like the first time". To me, this speaks of loyalty and contentment within marriage and that is a beautiful thing.

14. Beyond Me (Phenomenon Remix by Soul Glow Activatur)
I love how hyped this remix is! This track is definitely dance-worthy and even features a rap from Soul Glow Activatur.

15. Like A Match (Garcia's Remix)
This remix captures the heart of the song and reminds listeners to be on fire for God. What a great message to have starting and ending "This is Not a Test".
Closing Thoughts
Overall, I thought this album was fantastic. This was definitely a different musical style than Eye On It, but a very good direction. The EDM, hip-hop, rap, pop, rock, and soul on this album were so beautifully combined. Most importantly, every song has God-centered lyrics that make this album truly worth it. I give this album a 5/5 for originality, quality, spirituality, and creativity.

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