Toto
Toto IV


4.0
excellent

Review

by Superreallycool USER (21 Reviews)
May 22nd, 2016 | 91 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Toto IV earns a IV/V

1982 was an important year for Toto. From the get go, Toto had a top ten hit under their belt, "Hold the Line", and their debut album shipped over 2 million units. It would seem that things were going great for Toto, but alas that was not so. Their music was good no doubt, but indistinct. It didn't matter that their music was great when it sounded so much like other bands that many listeners assumed it WAS another band. This lack of "brand recognition" led to their follow up album "Hydra" to sell a mere 1/4 of what their first album did. Their third album was a disappointment even compared to "Hydra", both commercially and artistically. By the time 1982 rolled around, the future of Toto was uncertain, and it all rested on the success of "IV". Fortunately for them, IV came just on time. It was a bonafide smash hit, going on to sell over IV (sorry, I had to) million copies. However, just because an album is popular does not mean it's good. Just how well does IV hold up today"

The answer is simple; it holds up fantastically. Don't get me wrong, it's dated worse than most 80's albums, but it's SO dated that it becomes part of the records charm. It never feels so dated to become campy, but there's something so pleasing about how much synth is dripping from this albums every pore. Toto were a band made up of session musicians, who's job it was to change their style to fit the trends of the day, so it isn't really that surprising that IV sounds so much like a product of its time.

However, what is surprising is how much personality Toto show here. They change styles almost every song here, but there is an underlying personality that wasn't shown on their other albums. It's very hard to describe, but overall I think that they just sound more "invested". The members of Toto finally figured out how to shed their faceless habits as session players, and start doing something their own.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, each song here has its own style separate from the other songs here. While normally this would lead to the album feeling disjointed, and to a degree it does, all the songs here have a common "feeling". I wasn't born until the late 90's and didn't know who Toto were until about 2 years ago, but despite having no reason to, I feel incredibly nostalgic when I listen to this album. Every song has this warm, comforting tone to it. This common tone allows the band to flirt with genres outside strict AOR without having to worry much about if it fits with the rest of the album. This also helps keep the album from getting boring, each song is both a part of the whole yet has an identity all its own.

Bobby Kimbles vocals are among my favorites of the 80's, at least within pop. He has very impressive range, and far more importantly, an amazingly smooth and calming voice. His voice is responsible for a very large portion of the album's warm feeling, it floats between notes cleanly without Kimbles having to reign in his voice to do so. He manages to sound passionate while still retaining control over his voice. It's worthy to note that David Paich sings vocals on "Africa", he does a fantastic job as well.

IV stands as one of the best produced albums of all time. Yes, it is dated, and the production is part of that, but that doesn't take away from how full the instruments sound, how well balanced every instrument is, and how clean it all sounds. Despite this being a last ditch album, the band was given a quite large budget to record, and every penny was put to good use.

So far, I've been very high in my praise of IV. However, I didn't give it a 5, and the lyrics are a large reason why. The lyrics here are at best average, at worst painful. As sung in "Africa":

"I know that I must do what's right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti"

That metaphor is PAINFUL to listen to. It just so happens that the rest of "Africa" is amazing, so that line is excusable, however, not every song here is on the same level of quality that "Africa" is. Some songs here would be good without their lyrics, but the lyrics are enough to mar the rest of the song. Lyrics are probably the least important thing to me, but they're hard to ignore here. They aren't as intentionally meaningless like some of Def Leppard's songs, they clearly are trying to communicate something, they just really, really suck at this communication. If lyrics aren't important to you, there isn't anything here that comes even close to ruining the album, but for those to whom lyrics are of great significance, I recommend almost anything else.

The only other glaring issue with IV is "I Won't Hold You Back". I'm fine with power ballads, "Dream On" is one of my all time favorite classic rock songs period. "Dream On" is good though because it's a POWER ballad. "I Won't Hold You Back" is just a ballad. The problem with "I Won't Hold You Back" is that Toto holds back, they hold back WAY too much. Four fifths of the song is bland, boring, and uninspired. It feels like it was written because this came out in the 80's and they needed to check off the power balled box. The remaining 1/5 though, happens to be one of the best moments on this whole album. The solo for this song is great. It's kinda a shame that such a good solo was wasted on such a throwaway track. I can't say if putting up with 3 minutes of trash is worth 40ish seconds of musical divinity is worth it, but it is worth skipping over the first 3 minutes and pretending it's a 40 second guitar solo interlude.

If you're craving a slice of some classic AOR, it's hard to beat IV. Through a combination of great production, awesome song writing, impressive vocals, and little stiff competition, IV stands as one of the best albums of its genre. It's the product of great session players working together to create something they can be proud of and call their own. It's worth listening to and it's worth owning.

Recommended Tracks:
It's A Feeling
Rosanna
Africa



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user ratings (136)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
May 21st 2016


81232 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

smb

random
May 21st 2016


2689 Comments


Africa is a karaoke jam.

Digging: Say Anything - ...Is a Real Boy

Green Baron
May 22nd 2016


24321 Comments


Africa is godawful.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

MrSirLordGentleman
May 22nd 2016


11950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Africa is a classic

Superreallycool
May 22nd 2016


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Africa is fantastic what are you talking about

Sabrutin
May 22nd 2016


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet, this and the debut are both albums that I wasn't crazy at the idea of reviewing in my future discography review, many thanks ahaha, really. Have a pos. Just be aware that it's Bobby Kimball.



Anyways, oh man, there are so many things I don't agree with. Half of the review basically, especially the first paragraphs and the "session men without a soul" idiocy. Hydra and Turn Back are both better than this and the debut, this was their most inconsistent record yet, without a doubt. Africa is a masterpiece but Rosanna is almost unbearable.



Save for a few highlights this is some of their very weakest material, they also dropped the progressive influence that featured on Hydra and Turn Back. My 3.5 is all thanks to the highlights which I just love, but as a whole IV is an album that would appear near the bottom of my Toto ranking. My highlights are: Africa, Lovers in the Night, Afraid of Love, Make Believe, It's a Feeling (props for having it in the recommended tracks).



Toto-lite here

RadicalEd
May 22nd 2016


9393 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8gaoEQqoA8

parksungjoon
May 22nd 2016


8320 Comments


africa [123]

Titan
May 22nd 2016


19092 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Green Baron's worst post ever out of 22000 and change

Superreallycool
May 22nd 2016


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hyrda is good, but I could never get into Turn Back tbh

Pangea
May 22nd 2016


2713 Comments


Africa rules

Sabrutin
May 22nd 2016


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Superreallycool: Understandable because of its pop rock face, but it features a superb attention to details and nuances. English Eyes is the perfect example, it's a mad catchy rocker but the real treat is the presence of those calm sections full of subtle details. Also the album in general has some sweet guitar solos and riffs, but that's a given. Gift With A Golden Gun, English Eyes, Goodbye Elenore, Turn Back... 38 minutes that fly like 10.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
May 22nd 2016


1330 Comments


I... MIGHT be doing a cover of Africa currently...

Snake.
May 22nd 2016


21049 Comments


https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13239225_1581887558770386_3706750009085321912_n.jpg?oh=995e1a177f50bcf7477356a56f00027a&oe=57CEE4E1

Digging: Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning

Superreallycool
May 23rd 2016


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

AYYYYYYYYYYYY

BeneaththeDarkOcean
June 6th 2016


687 Comments


Nice review. Though I'm surprised you didn't at least passingly mention their contribution to MJ's Thriller in the opening paragraph; no big loss to the review really, since it's just one of those "fun musical facts" that us music geeks are all so fond of... but after an opening sentence like "1982 was an important year for Toto", it's just kinda funny to me that Thriller doesn't get a mention. ;)

Superreallycool
June 6th 2016


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was going to make a joke about how Toto would win the Grammy no matter if they or MJ won but I couldn't phrase it in a way I actually thought sounded good

Sabrutin
June 6th 2016


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Lukather, Paich and two Porcaro brothers (Steve and Jeff) were in Thriller. While Beat It is remembered for having that Van Halen guitar solo it's also cool to know that Luke plays other guitar parts and bass too, while Jeff is behind the kit and Steve (Porcaro) is credited for synths.

DinosaurJones
June 6th 2016


9951 Comments


"Rosanna is almost unbearable"

YOU TAKE THAT BACK

Sabrutin
June 6th 2016


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry man haha I can dig it for a while but I can't stand it for 5 and a half minutes. Idk why I never managed to get into it even though I worship this band like few others. I can dig it live, though.



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