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Well Worth The 3 Year Wait
Posted February 08, 2010
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer

What is there to say about tobyMac that hasn’t already been said? Three successful solo albums aside from dc Talk, several #1 hits, multiple Dove Awards (including ‘Artist Of The Year’ back in 08’), and a Grammy. Needless to say, after the success of his 3rd album ‘Portable Sounds’, people were gonna expect a huge follow-up …and ‘Tonight’ delivers just that.

When Toby describes this album as being more sundry stylistically to any of his previous work, he’s not kidding. It starts off with the clubby sounding ‘Tonight’ , featuring the brilliant edition of vocals by John Cooper, lead vocalist of Skillet. It brings a new level of complexity to the song that I enjoy. ‘Get Back Up’ boasts what would make a fantastic radio single with lyrics that hit home with everyone, no mater how many times we lose our way, we need to remember to get back up and not let our situations hold us down. One of my favorites songs of Toby’s off any of his albums. And might I add, I rather enjoy the auto tune on it as well.

‘Funky Jesus Music’ (featuring vocals by Siti Monroe and new CCM artist Beckah Shae) brings back a somewhat 70’s jazzy feel, heavy with horns and a thicker beat, while the first single off the album, ‘City On Our Knees’ goes very pop mellow and electronic. Many people have vocalized that they weren’t very pleased with this first single, but I enjoy the depth in the flow and the beauty in the lyrics, far from anything he’s ever done stylistically and I enjoy the diversity (no pun intended). One of my favorites.

The album kicks up once again with ‘Showstopper’, which is without a doubt going to become a fan favorite to hear live, the addiction of Bryon ‘Mr. Talkbox’ Chambers take it to a whole new level. ‘Changed Forever’ brings back a hip-hop flair with Nirva Ready from his Diverse City band on vocals alongside Toby. ‘Hold On’ offers a message of hope while synth vocals take this song with a bit of a modern R n’B melody to new heights, almost a ‘City On Our Knees’ feel.

truDog AKA Toby’s son Truett makes his return in ‘Loud n’ Clear’ alongside his 3 year-old brother Judah…I won’t give too much away since I know how much fans look forward to a new ‘truDog’ track, but I will say this…it’s impossible to NOT smile while listening to it.

‘Hey Devil’ takes on the topic of temptation and rebuking the enemy, a topic I sure wish more artists would tackle, I was pleasantly surprised by the rawness in the lyrics, I’m happy that he has the guts to take it on in a modest and yet, still bold way. Musically, I love the 80’s pop feel to it. I hope to hear more songs like this by other artists in the future. Musically, but also lyrically.

‘Wondering’ throws in a cameo vocal from Relient K frontman Matt Thiessen (a nice edition to a somewhat mellow song). If you ever wondered what a tobyMac worship song would sound like, ‘Captured’ answers that in it’s entirety. It’s VERY reminiscent of dc Talk’s ‘Consume Me’, and maybe that is why I enjoy it so much, modern worship lyrics to a breathy and upbeat melody. I’d love to hear this as the next radio single.

‘Start Somewhere’ with a very Latin feel and ‘Break Open The Skies’ (a reggae inspired song with the addition of Grammy award winning worship leader Israel Houghton) take this album to a very calming close. It’s unlike his ‘Portable Sounds’ album that ended with a bang like ‘Lose My Soul’, but it fits ‘Tonight’ well, after dealing with such deep topics and at time, rather melodically radical songs, it feels right to end on a softer note.

Everything on this album works together so beautifully. tobyMac fan or not --I say this from a music enthusiasts perspective when I say that I really can find NOTHING that I don’t enjoy on this album. Musically diverse, multiple styles, catchy hooks, deeper lyrics than any of his previous albums, and God’s Word shines FAR above any of it. What more could you ask for?

This is an album I have found myself to not only enjoy more than I expected to (and believe me when I say that I had high expectations and excitement for this album, all that were met and MORE) but one that I will no doubt find myself listening to frequently. There is something here for everyone, and whether you’ve liked his albums in the past or not, this is the album people will want to pick up and see for themselves. I have a feeling more than one person’s opinion might change by albums end.

This is by far one of the most anticipated albums of 2010, and in my opinion? It’s also one of the first ‘must own’ albums of the year as well. DON’T miss this one --you won’t regret it.

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