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tobyMac [Tonight]
Posted February 05, 2010
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Starting with dcTalk, and then going solo when the group disbanded in 2000, TobyMac still clings to such notions as hard work, persistence, patience and the power of music, which he insists is still what keeps him going. Tonight is easily the most anticipated new album of the new decade, and is truly amazing and a great way to start off the year. If you are a long-time Christian music fan, you’ll hear that classic blend of rock, hip-hop and worship that made Jesus Freak one of the all-time greatest albums in the history of Christian music. Toby grabbed me immediately with opening track “Tonight,” featuring John Cooper from Skillet, which is a techno-style rock song that rivals “Say The Words” by dcTalk, both in intensity and catchiness. Toby’s vocals have never sounded better and he and John blend seamlessly as they both sing their hearts out on this fantastic opening song expressing our urgency for God. One theme that runs loud and clear throughout the album is the idea that we all need God, and we need him now, this morning, this afternoon, tonight. “Right here, right now / Under the stars / I promise You my heart / ’Cause it starts tonight,” Toby sings on the chorus of the title track.

If you are looking for a hip-hop song in the style of “Made To Love,” look no further than second song “Get Back Up.” The melody and music is so catchy, I was bouncing in my seat as I listened to the song. “Funky Jesus Music” is next and I can’t remember any album since Portable Sounds that has three opening tracks as strong and upbeat as the first three songs on Tonight. If the start of the album wasn’t incredible enough, next comes Toby’s GRAMMY-nominated song “City On Our Knees.” “If you gotta start somewhere why not here? If you gotta start sometime why not now?” he asks on “City on Our Knees,” which is a great song to cool down and worship before the next two songs get you moving again.

“ShowStopper” might actually live up to its pretty impressive title as it has even more grooves than “Boomin’,” which was previously my favorite “party song” by Toby. The bridge “so rock me, drop me, but you will never stop me” sums up the energy level of this great song. “Changed Forever” has a confessional message and features some great guest vocals from Nirva Ready. “‘Hold On’ is very personal,” Toby says. “Many lines are there to encourage my wife, but I know those lines could encourage anybody in a relationship. As for ‘Start Somewhere,’ any time you’re in love with somebody, you’re going to bang heads from time to time. I don’t know how many times I’ve been lying in bed, sweating it out and thinking, How am I going to make this right? But then you reach that moment of apology and forgiveness. And then there’s “Wonderin’,” in which Toby reminisces about the past with Kevin Max and Michael Tait in dcTalk I’m wonderin’ ’bout the way I spend my days / Wonderin’ if it’s even worth the chase / Wonderin’ if they’re stealin’ me from You.” There’s even a healthy dose of reggae on the album closer “Break Open the Sky,” where Toby flexes his Jamaican family ties while Israel Houghton provides guest vocals. Other visiting vocalists include Relient K’s Matthew Thiessen on “Wonderin’.”

This is one of those albums that requires you to move your body along with the unbelievable hooks to truly “feel” the passion of these songs. Tonight should probably come with a warning label for people who get motion sickness. If these songs don’t make you move, you may not have a pulse. Right now, this is the top Christian album of the year and the best overall album by tobyMac in my opinion. Tonight will certainly be holding a place in my top 10 albums of 2010.

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