Mature, Transparent and Honest Release
Posted October 12, 2018
The Elements is Toby Mac’s seventh solo album and first since 2015’s excellent This is Not a Test. The album was preceded by the release of four songs, including the chart-topping “I Just Need U”.
This is a mature work dealing with many themes, including family, God being our only hope, seeing God in everything, race relations, new opportunities, new mercies, the church and encouragement. Most of the songs are upbeat musically, containing a good groove. It's one of the best albums of 2018.
Below are a few brief comments on each song:
The Elements – This song was written and produced by Tommee Profitt (NF) and Toby. This was the fourth song released prior to release of the album.
The song begins with Toby singing over keys. This world is trying to steal his heart and rip his family apart. Vocally and musically the song hits it hard in the chorus and he sings that he will be doing down swinging, if he goes down at all. The bridge is a prayer to God. He’s willing to fight the elements.
Key lyric: I might bend but I won't break
I just need U – This song was written by Bryan Fowler, Blake NeeSmith and Toby and produced by Fowler and Toby. It was the first single released from the album and topped the Christian music charts for an incredible 12 weeks. The song starts with keys, bass and light backing vocals. The song really takes off with the chorus and the memorable beat will stay in your head long after the song is over. The song includes a few lines from Psalm 23.
Key lyric: 'Cause all I know, all I know is You're my only hope
Scars – This song was written by and produced by Bryan Fowler, Cole Walowac and Toby and was produced by Fowler and Walowac. It was the third song released in advance of the album. Toby wrote the song for his 20-year-old son Truett about what life was throwing at him. The song is a bit more laid back though it builds powerfully towards the end. This is a touching song from a father to a son, encouraging him. He tells him that when life cuts so deep try and remember that you’re not alone. We’ve all been there and scars come with living. Lift your head to where your help comes from. The song features some light backing vocals.
Key lyric: It doesn't matter who you are, this world gonna leave some battle scars
Everything – This was the second single released from the album. It was written produced by David Garcia and Toby. The song has an instantly likeable groove that will stick in your head.
Key lyric: I see You in everything, all day, and every beat of my heart keeps reminding me
Starts With Me – This song was written by Dave Lubben, Cole Walowac, Aaron Cole and Toby. It was produced by Lubben and Walowac and features 19-year-old Christian hip-hop artist Aaron Cole on vocals. The song addresses race relations from both perspectives. They sing about the homes they were raised in and what was passed down to them from generation to generation. The song has a good beat and includes some samples from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech.
Key lyric: With a history that’s filled with hate, have we ever been united states?
Edge Of My Seat – This is an upbeat song both musically and lyrically. It has a great dance beat, driven by drum, and features some backing vocals. The Lord is opening up his eyes to new opportunities. The song quotes Isaiah 43:19, Behold, I am doing a new thing in the land.
Key lyric: Ain't no one ever gonna steal the mystery You put right in front of me
It’s You – This song slows down the pace a bit. The song is about the Lord. Life doesn’t make sense without Him. The song features some backing vocals, keys and percussion.
Key lyric: It’s You, then everything else just falls in line
Horizon (A New Day) – This is an upbeat song about the body of Christ, the church. He references 1 Corinthians 12, that the church, the body, the family has different parts but is one and the same. The song opens with keys and has a good driving beat. A new day is on the horizon and nothing is going to stand in the way of the church.
Hello Future – On this song, Toby sings of nothing sweeter than welcoming new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Over a good beat, he sings of going through a difficult time but now the troubles have washed away and he’s home again. The future is going to be OK.
Overflow – This joyful song, features a good beat and some horns. When he’s running empty, the Lord fills up his cup till it overflows.
Key lyric: You are the sweetest love, sweetest love that I've ever known
See The Light – In this song Toby is encouraging to those who are going through a hard season of life. Life is hard, there are doubts, uphill climbs and battles. But just hang on a little longer, burdens will fade. He points us to Psalm 121, where we see that our help comes from the LORD. The song has a good beat, and will be a particularly encouraging song in concert, with many hands held high.
Key lyric: You got more than you on your side
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