TobyMac’s Solo Records Ranked Six To One. #5: Tonight

To hear the name “TobyMac” is as familiar to me as breathing.  Jesus Freak was, is, and always will be standard that music is judged against.  Say what you will.  “It’s dated!”  “It’s Christain rock!”  “It’s….Jesus Freak!  This is 2015!”  No matter.  That record shaped the foundation that  my love for music firmly stands on.  TobyMac was only part of the trio alongside Michael Tait and Kevin Max, but while looking at reviewing an artist’s entire solo discography, he simply seemed like the obvious choice to start with.  He hasn’t put out any EPs along the way (like Kevin Max), or started a full new band that couldn’t simply be considered solo (like Michael Tait).  Heck, those small items aside; he didn’t become the front man for freakin’ Audio Adrenaline or Newsboys like his former bandmates did!

Let’s get down to it.  Toby’s discography ranked six to one.

#5

TonightTobyMac – Tonight
Forefront Records
February 9th, 2010

The order of these records gets a little harder to rank after Tonight, but there’s no doubt in the world the predecessor to Eye On It was just that:  a predecessor to the coming lowest point of Toby’s career.  Tonight is like the coughing and sore throat that you start to feel tinges of on Friday when you get home from work.  I really don’t like how I’m feeling right now, and I’ve got some great plans tomorrow.  It’s the weekend!  I cannot get sick.  Lord, please don’t let this continue.  I want to enjoy my weekend.  PLEASE don’t let it get worse.

You already know how that one ends.  Saturday is gone, and the only place you’ll be worshiping on Sunday has a porcelain idol.

I vividly remember listening to this cd while driving home from Best Buy (where I had just bought it) in Brentwood, Tennessee.  The opening title track was just utterly confusing.  I dare you to listen to it right now and come up with any sort of opinion.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  It’s just so mediocre that my brain refuses to let it choose a side, because how could anyone actually start off a record with a completely uninspired track, especially TobyMac?  (Thump Thump Thump) – IT STARTS TONIGHT! – (Thump Thump Thump) – WE WANNA TOUCH THE OTHER SIDE – (Thump Thump Thump).  Basic and ordinary.

I started getting my faith back when Get Back Up came on, which is, to this day, an easy standout that echoed Toby’s pop-rock side, à la Gone from Portable Sounds.  It’s encouraging and catchy, and while some will still call it corny, I can with wholeheartedly disagree.  That was simply the calm before the sneezing and hacking started however, because once I got through Funky Jesus Music (need I say more?) and lead single City On Our Knees (LEAD SINGLE?  Someone needs fired for making that decision), I knew there was trouble afoot.   There was Hey Devil (remember those high fructose corn syrup guzzling kids from the Eye On It review?  Yeah, they’re back) and Showstopper, the wanna-be party anthem that ends up with b-side riffage that sounds way too metal-like for its structure.  I mean, it’s catchy – don’t misunderstand.  I can turn it up and understand it’s ability to sell.  However, catchy doesn’t mean quality.  Maybe I’m biased because I expect too much considering who’s name is on the front of these records.

Lots of filler on the back third of this record that doesn’t warrant much of your time either.  Better than the second half of Eye On It, but still – nothing to write home about in the slightest.

I’m tired of talking about the two records in Toby’s catalog that were letdowns.  The disparity between the likes of Eye On It and Tonight are worlds apart of the quality that fills Momentum, Welcome To Diverse City, Portable Sounds, and This Is Not A Test.  I want my glass to be half full. Let’s move on.

4.5/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Get Back Up / Changed Forever

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