Stephanie M. (King-Trident) from SONORA, CA Reviewed on 4/27/2007...
One of my new favorites!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Another Portable Masterpeice
J. S. Tucker | 02/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was actually able to snag this CD at Wal Mart last Friday (5 days before it officially came out), seems someone didn't pay attention to street date...oh well.
Once again Toby has done it, he follows a trend that I see in too few of bands these days. Instead of pumping out 11-13 tracks of 'been there, done that', 'Portable Sounds' takes on a fresh sound and theme.
With Momentum being the 'Hard Rock' album, Diverse City being the 'Hip Hop/dance' album, Portable Sounds captures the feel of both previous efforts while throwing in a fresh sound. Portable is a little more mellow in terms of rock but the power and energy is there as always. To me, I feel a mid range 'DC Talk/Supernatural' kind of sound a little throughout the CD, so it kind of takes you back.
I feel the lyrics overall of 'Portable' are an improvement to Diverse City, where I felt the Christian theme dropped just a little, yeah it was still there but not as strong as I usually like it. Songs like 'Made to Love' and especially 'Boomin'' are catchy.
Tru Dog makes a reappearance in the awesome and hilarious track #8. I can just see this kid following his dad's footsteps in a few years. And again, Kirk Franklin has a track with Toby that is much better than his previous appearence on Momentum's 'J Train'. Before it seemed like he just kind of sat there and talked, but this time he actually does some singing, the track overall it pretty good and I'm not much of a KF fan.
And finally, more than once Toby has some witty and funny skits between songs which I think makes the album that much more fun. Some I listened to over and over again.
Overall, I think this CD is another dead-on bullseye for Toby, even under the giant shadow of his two previous records, Portable Sounds easily comes out able to stand on it's own as a solid album. Even with it's more (dare I say it) mellow sound compared to the extreme musical themes of Momentum and Diverse, Portable Sounds is without a doubt one of my favorite CD's and will please both newcomers and older fans alike. For a 40+ year old (that's right, go check out his birthday) Toby rocks just as hard (if not harder) than anything coming out these days. Amazing record, get it."
A Half and Half Deal
J. Read | Mechanicsburg, PA USA | 03/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Toby McKeehan (a.k.a. tobyMac) of dc talk has released his third full-length solo project entitled Portable Sounds. I'll try to be as non-biased as I can in this review, but I'll be honest first of all and confess that I am a die-hard dc talk fan, and that I was disappointed at my first listening sample to this new album. tobyMac has done something extremely rare in dc talk history--he named the album, not after a song, but a phrase. This piqued my interest, especially in a tobyMac album, but then again, looking at the titles of his past two records, Momentum, and, Welcome to Diverse City, Portable Sounds doesn't sound too much stranger.
First, let me give a brief analysis of the songs:
1. One World: There is no "Toby's Back" to start us off like on Diverse City--no reference at all to Toby. In fact, the first sounds are a door opening and Toby saying, "Alright, this time it's for real." Thus, the album commences, with this track being very reminiscent of Hey Now, but fresh and not just a copy of a previous tune. Toby reinforces his stance on the beauty of diversity, and goes even farther to say that we are all one world, that this one world was intended to house countless types of people. The very last words you will hear on this track are "Come together," again bringing to light a theme that dc talk has always had.
2. Made To Love: This is the "title track." (At least, I am convinced it is.) I can't compare this really to any song Toby has ever done, but this sound works great for him. (This song was made a single a few months before this album was released.) Basically, "the song says it all." Anyone who listens to it cannot deny its message: that man was made for God. Toby says it straight, and very passionately, and after listening to it you will discover that Toby is truly singing to the invisible God: "I was made to love You / I was made to find You / I was made just for You / Made to adore You / I was made to love, and be loved by You / You were hear before me / You were waiting on me / You said you would keep me / Never would You leave me / I was made to love, and be loved by You." I thought it very interesting to have this song right in the beginning of the album, but as I advanced track by track, I discovered that each song was a doorway, or a branch, from this anthem.
3. Boomin': The most pure tobyMac sound on the album. Much similiar to a sound like Diverse City. A very fun song, all about the Truth (Jesus Christ) being boomed out of stereo systems. Of course, Toby has a lot of fun with it and you can tell that no matter how dedicated he is in his music to his relationship with Christ, he doesn't take himself too seriously. At the bridge to the track, the phrase 'portable sounds'shows up: "I got portable sounds to lift me up / Portable sounds to take me higher / Portable sounds to lift me up, so don't even try to get in my head." He is referring, of course, to car stereos, boom boxes, iPods, mp3s, etc. Basically, as believers, we can tune out the polluted sounds of the world surrounding us and listen to sounds that take us to another plane, a Heavenly one. Hearing this, I automatically recalled the feeling I had from listening to the previous track, Made To Love. The album closes out with an interlude. Madisa sings an Opera version of the bridge. Don't worry, there are plenty of interludes on here for those tobyMac fans who enjoy all the interludes.
4. I'm For You: Here is where the CD takes a turn. Not in question of being a decent album, but in sound. Toby has never sang to a tune like this. I know many fans were hoping, and maybe praying, that Toby wouldn't go this route, but he pulls it off (I think) rather well. A sound very much like contemporary rock, like Relient K or along those lines. In listening to the lyrics very closely, however, the song is really God's answer to What If I Stumble? In the question that dc talk opened up, "What if I stumble? What if I fall? You never turn in the heat of it all," this song seeks to answer as Christ would answer, "Whatever I gotta be, I'll be for you / Whatever you need from me to see you through." The chorus, and the song, end with the phrase, "If you never knew, I'm for you." Again, stressing that Made To Love. Christ and Man were made for eachother. Read over 2 Corinthians 12.
5. Face Of the Earth: Another sound like the previous one, but more calm. Questions back and forth between Christ and His follower who's strayed off the path. (There are, of course, multiple meaning to songs, but these interpretations here are what I understood from them.) It's really Christ speaking the entire song. Asking why have you turned, why this and why that, but that "I got love for you that's bigger than mistakes." The song asks the listener great questions, but also stresses the undying love that Christ has for the 'sheep.' It ends with Christ's words, "Behold! I stand at the door and knock. Whoever will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in." Then there's a nice interlude into the next song.
6. No Ordinary Love: Featuring Nirva-Dorsaint, this song leaves the guitars behind and goes into a nice dance/Diverse City feel. (Don't know why, but it makes me think of Getaway Car.) Basically shouts out that the love spoken of in the previous songs is "No Ordinary Love."
7. Ignition: Those of you who would like something similiar to The Slam or Extreme Days, do not look for it in this song. I admit, this first thing I thought when I heard this was 'Toby, what are you doing, man?' This track is pure comtemporary hard rock. However, when studied closely, this song is very bold, and now I find myself listening to it constantly (dc talk never fails to open you to new sounds.) Well, Ignition is all about an in-your-face shout, "Wake up, America!" This can definitely be taken different ways, and I'll leave it up to the listener to take from it what he will, but for those who have thirsted for a message similiar to What Have We Become?, Ignition is it.
8. Hype Man (truDog '07): Best truDog yet. Seriously. Much funnier than the previous ones, and lil' McKeehan is developing some nice skills.
9. Suddenly: Back to contemporary rock guitars, but it works for Toby. I think it's really an answer to Gone from Diverse City. The verses are very similiar to the verses of Gone, speaking of break ups and what not. But this song goes farther in saying that this whole thing will be behind you someday. And nice tune that'll get stuck in your head for awhile as well. But the message is a nice reminder: "Sometimes there's nothing left but to believe."
10. All In (Letting Go): The title of this song says it all. It really continues the path that Suddenly started on. A prayer to God: "I'm letting go of everything I am / And I'm holding on to everything You are / I'm letting go of everything I once was / I'm all in / I'm falling into Your arms again." Suddenly and All In are really companion songs. And it's also time for another interlude again! A comical phone call between Toby and "Mr. Talkbox," the singing telephone guy.
11. Feelin' So Fly: Back to a dance/funk/rock tune that could fit on Diverse City. Again, the title says it all. A shout out to God that "You've got me feelin' so fly." And this inexplicable feeling is what separates believers from the unbelievers. Toby talks to the unbeliever to tell him that he doesn't know what he's missing out on: "You think you know the deal, I'm gonna show you what's for real."
12. No Signal: A short little rap of Toby praying to the Lord to comfort his family while he's stuck at an airport because of snow. The 'No Signal' comes in because he's got "no signal on my cellular phone."
13. Lose My Soul: Features Kirk Franklin and Mandisa. This ain't no J Train. A nice, hip-hop/R&B sound. You can bob your head, but it's calming and soothing at the same time. The message is much like Tait's Empty. Toby cries: "I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul." Toby raps first verse, Kirk raps the second, and Mandisa really breaks down on the bridge. The song ends with Toby and Franklin praying for God to help keep our love off of the material things, and to keep us in love with Him. (Again, back to Made To Love.) Of course, there has to be an interlude at the end of the album. And nice encore of people singing, "I don't wanna lose my soul." Thus it fades out and the album ends.
I gave it three stars for a half and half. Those looking for Momentum or Diverse City will not find an album like that. Toby has remained true to dc talk practice--every album is different than the last. I can't help but think of the difference between Jesus Freak and Supernatural. This album brings that to mind. Toby didn't leave rap at all, he's experimenting more and more just like the other dc talkers are. Honestly, I really enjoyed this album. The three stars mean that some people will not like it while others will like it. But it's a heart felt album, and actually very serious."
Better, if thats possible.
HeyUPikachu | Seattle area, WA United States | 03/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If your into hardcore rap and rock, then pass this CD up. But if you like, Pop, hip hop, and dancing, then this is the CD for you.
Songs like Trudog 07 and Signal will hafta grow on you, and I have no doubt they will with me, as it has happened in the past with some Tobymac songs.
"One World", "Boomin", "No Ordinary Love", and "Feelin so Fly" are great dance songs, with lotsa hip hop flavor while "Made to love", "Suddenly" and "I'm for you", are rather pop-like. ;) I have no doubt you can dance to them all. The Slower songs like "Face of the earth" and "All in" are catchy and fluid with a slightly similar sound.
The strange sounds like heavy metal and rap that kept me from buying his first album are all but gone, which is a major improvement. Toby's not afraid to try something new, and he pulls it off.
If I had to use only two words to describe it I woud say: Amazingly unique. Dont buy it if you like Modern pop. :)"
Take'em Wherever You Go
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 02/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Portable Sounds," TobyMac's third solo effort of original work, is almost a continuation of it's predecessor, "Welcome To Diverse City." Opening with the soulful "One World" and then spilling into a wonderful mixture of rap, pop, soul, rock, hip hop, a little funk and Reggae, this album feels both fresh and comfortable at the same time. There seems to be less rock influence on this album, but "Boomin'" has a nice blend of it along with some soul. Songs like "I'm For You" and "Suddenly" highlight the pop sounds while "Feelin' So Fly" gets funky. Lighter fare such as "All In" will probably make its way to Contemporary Christian Radio and "No Signal" gives the listener some reggae pop.
As with all of TobyMac's albums, there are a few interludes. The highlight has to be "Mr. Talkbox" in my opinion. DC Talk fans will get a taste of the past when they hear "Face of the Earth." It hearkens back to some of DC Talk's lighter pop tunes.
All of the songs on this album are clear on one thing: They are Christian and aren't shy to tell you about it. There is no questioning T-Mac's motives, and it's great to see an artist with so much talent to be so unafraid of expressing his faith. Much like rock pioneers Petra, T-Mac does not back down or compromise in order to get his music on Top 40 or ACC radio. This guy is a whiz at what he does, and "Portable Sounds" is definitely a travel-worthy collection of tunes. Highly recommended."
Toby Still Rocks!!!
Media Lover | 02/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh wow. I am so impressed with Toby's new album. He has made serious strides in the music industry, and his albums just keep impressing. Mommentum was phenominal, Diverse City was wonderful and this just builds upon the two. I highly reccomend this!"