TobyMac | Eye On It | Release: 28 August 'o12

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What is there to say about TobyMac that hasn't been said. Every album he releases is hotly anticipated and he never fails to deliver the goods. But as time goes on, will it take a toll on this enthusiastic artist and performer? Can he continue to keep up the breakneck pace of recording, producing, touring, promoting, and creating? The upcoming release of Eye On It, his latest endeavor, will give us some answers and today, we're taking a look at it a couple weeks early, walkTRu style.

Track One: Me Without You... so this is the lead single and it's no longer a surprise as to what it sounds like - EVERYONE's heard it by now... it's a really catchy tune, though, poppy and light, despite talking about being without a necessary component to your life... I really like that breakdown section... sounds great... off to a good start... Track Two: Steal My Show... another mellow tone... very laid back and off to a slow, but building tempo... the chorus maintains the feel of the song, while still opening it up for a slightly bigger sound... solid message here... seems to be a theme (looking backwards and ahead in the track listing)... as well known as Toby is for his energetic live shows, he wants God to steal the show... Track Three: Eye On It... FINALLY! some energy from the music... and the title track has a bit of an industrial feel to it, with a drubbing drive beat that fills the room like a dance hall and forces you to move, if only to avoid bruising... the lyrics echo Philippians 3, where Paul talks about straining for the prize ahead... Track Four: Forgiveness (ft. Lecrae)... first, I can NOT wait for Gravity to drop... okay, this is an unexpected drop in tempo... this is almost reminiscent of a Paul Wright song, very chill and relaxed... like a beach vibe... so not like Lecrae's standard fare... of course, he adjusts and holds his own... the best part of this track is the way the music comes together behind the chorus... it really directs the listener down the right path... oddly, the song kind of feels like it's dragging on for the last minute or so... as if it should've wrapped up around 3:20, but it stretches out to 4:10... Track Five: Speak Life... immediately you're drawn in by the minimalist approach to the music and the cadence of Toby's opening verse... slowly, more musical elements are added and the headphones fill up with sound as the chorus sweeps through.... this song talks about the power of our words and attitudes, which can shape our surroundings to some extent... Track Six: UnStoppable (ft. Bianca of G1C)... another jolt of higher energy... Bianca seems to be filling in for Nirva by providing hook support and some soaring vocal touches throughout... that's what's different about this album... it feels a lot less like a "Diverse City" album... the Gospel and funk grounding is replaced with underpinnings of pop and dance... it's almost as if Toby is stepping out even further as a solo entity, which is ironic, since thematically, he's expressing the importance of having other people in his life and his gratitude for their investments in him...

*** INTERMISSION (maybe it's cheating but i'm falling behind on this typing and i need to go stretch) ***

Track Seven: Lose Myself... the beginning of this song feels reminiscent of Jim Steinman's 80s rock ballads (Making Love out of Nothing at All, Total Eclipse of the Heart, etc.)... it has a nice theatrical quality as it unfolds and eventually explodes (it's a mild explosion) into the chorus... but again, this song talks about Toby stepping out of the spotlight and passing along the attention to God... Track Eight: Family... I half expected this to be a cover of We Are Family... or at least something similar, but as I mentioned before, this album is something of a departure from his past stylings... in fact, as this opens, i can hear the infamous Coldplay triplets (no, they aren't really there) and i'm also reminded of a song from The Afters called Start Over... and as the track opens up fully to reveal an airy and grandiose chorus, I can't help but think it sounds like City on Our Knees... but while I'm musically distracted, the song plays on and it's not bad... Track Nine: Thankful for You... here is where Toby really starts waxing sentimental and crediting others (and specifically God) for their role in his life and success... it's kind of a quirky song, musically, but as it heads into the chorus, more sounds and voices get added to the mix and by the time the chorus is in full swing, it feels like a very communal effort... that's nice... Track Ten: Made for Me... continuing the overall theme, Toby zeroes in on his wife and delivers a nice love song, crediting God for their compatibility and success as a couple... it's a nice composition, with great texture as some parts overlap and the rhythm holding it together keeps you tuned in... love the line, "promised to hold on loosely, but i so want to squeeze"... Track Eleven: Mac Daddy (Tru's Reality)... dating back to Toby's first solo album, he's surrendered a song to his son Truett, a.k.a. Tru-Dawg... this installment reminds us of how old we are, because Tru-Dawg is on the hunt for a new laptop to make his own beats and he sounds so much different than the little voice that graced Momentum... Track Twelve: Favorite Song (ft. Jamie Grace)... Toby goes out of his way to promote Jamie Grace... it's been his way since he started Gotee Records... he hustled to promote Ayiesha Woods, Out of Eden, Grits, and many more... so, it's fitting that he includes her on his album... and he closes the album with a song about companionship, enjoying time with someone of whom you never grow tired... the deluxe version of this album has 6 more remixes, but we're not going there today... we're done here...