Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Christian, Gospel
Listen to Samples
The Hinge in Tonio's Catalogue
Cletus J. "Bubba" Huckabee Jr. | Chesterfield County | 06/30/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Romeo Unchained is the musical hinge in his catalogue and all his work before, and all that after, pivot on this album. Of all the Tonio K albums, this one was polished to a very fine glow in anticipation of a wide release. After the critical acclimation of the early work there was plenty of interest among industry insiders, yet the music buying public still wasn't really sure of who Tonio K was or what he did. So this collection of songs was given the spit-shine treatment and directed at a new market - namely the CCM-buying public of the 80s. Because the CCM crowd wasn't exactly sure who this guy was either, they accepted him as "a new guy" with a new sound. But Tonio K was simply carrying on the work he had been doing for years and this album fitted nicely up against his previous releases. The only difference is the polish. Nothing before or since has been quite as slickly produced. There has been much made about the opinion that "I Handle Snakes" doesn't belong on this album and most of this can be attributed to Tonio K himself stating this opinion on the original liner notes. All these years later, listening again... I think I have to disagree. "I Handle Snakes" fits quite nicely as a bookend against a bunch of tunes that have the same lyrical feel. This album was not a milestone in CCM, nor was it the high point in Tonio K's catalogue (the limited release EP "La Bomba" is arguably the acme of K), but it is the most audience friendly in that it appeals to the widest cross section of listeners. It feels much like a late 80s album at this point and is prone to bringing back waves of nostalgia for anyone who was familiar with it back in 1986."
The most approachable Tonio K
Ken Carroll | Eastman, GA United States | 01/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally wrote this review back in 2000 (now, it's 2005). Well, it's been five years and this CD still finds its way into regular rotation among my driving CDs. It's still a great CD and I wouldn't change a word of what I wrote below, though I did add some information.
Yes, five stars for an artist of whom most people are unaware. Yes, they are well-deserved stars and if you like thoughtful, witty and revelatory lyrics you should buy it. The musical styles vary, but all are enjoyable from the energetic, tech-pop tinged "I Am Not Impressed" to the sparse acoustic sounds of the beautiful "You Will Go Free."
"Romeo Unchained is a thematic recording about (with the exception of "I Handle Snakes") personal relationships. It is always lyrical and literate, often insightful, and venemously accurate when targeting hypocrisy and a society which refuses to attempt to live up to its potential.
"You Will Go Free" is the song that touches me most. It's truths about the type of world in which we live and the salvation available move me.
While some people will prefer the earlier album "Life in the Foodchain," and understandably so for it is another gem, if I were to introduce someone to Tonio K's music this is where I would begin. The lyrics stand out and the songs never suffer from too much clutter or overproduction.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek ("Romeo Loves Jane," which qualifies for rhyme of the year -- "I saw Shakespeare and Cheetah drowning in their margueritas") or in a more serious mode ("Perfect World" with its anguished " 'cause I never had to walk away from anybody I wanted as much as I wanted you") Tonio K explores relationships with the cold, loving eye of someone who has been burned but is ready to try it all over again.
This, along with Robbie Robertson's self-titled CD, is one of the two most under-rated recordings of the past 20 years. Buy this CD or forever wonder how Mickey and Minnie Mouse wind up in the same song with Napoleon and Josephine and why it's obvious it should be so."
An oasis in the desert
Jeff McCloud | Elizabethtown, PA USA | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Romeo Unchained" was the first Tonio K. album I bought, and it mesmerized me from the start. Finally, here was someone who was addressing the same feelings that I had about love, relationships and how they fit with society.Now, 16 years later, I still smile at the humor of "Impressed" and "Romeo and Jane." After relistening to it recently, the melodies are running through my head -- and it's a pleasure. The music and product are a little dated, but the songwriting and lyrics are as insightful today as they were in 1986."