Toto, “Lorraine” from Hydra (1979): Toto Tuesdays

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One of the criticisms of Hydra album was that it lacked a distinct sound that identified the band performing the music as Toto.

But Toto, being a band that has always been “all encompassing” (or en Toto) of their musical influences, I’d counter that, if anything, Hydra actually did more to establish the band’s style and sound than their debut did. “Lorraine,” the side one-closing track, is exemplary of that.

Between the somewhat pastoral influences that would not have sounded out of place on a Genesis or Caravan album that open the song to the catchy chorus and Steve Lukather’s guitar riffs on the chorus, to David Paich’s subtly brilliant piano playing to the synth accents and embellishments from Steve Porcaro, to Bobby Kimball’s background vocals, Toto’s “Lorraine” continued this album’s trend of throwing a bit of everything into every song to see what would happen.

The song also marks the second in a long string of Toto songs featuring women’s names as the title. This time, David Paich’s wife was the muse.

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Normally blending so many different styles into a single song doesn’t work – and, admittedly, this was not one of Toto’s best attempts at mixing so many different musical styles into one song, but it’s a valiant effort and it showed shades of things to come. While critics might say that “Lorraine” is a hot mess that can’t make up its mind what kind of song it wants to be, fans are more likely to point out that this track is a statement of a band finding their sound and realizing that the musical journey they’ve embarked upon is one in which they don’t want to box themselves into any one style of music.

Almost all of the songs on Hydra are clearly and definitively Toto. “Lorraine” is not only no exception to that, is perhaps one of the best examples of Toto living up to their name on either of their first two albums. “Lorraine” truly is “en Toto.”

Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the rich musical history of Toto. The group returned in 2015 with ‘Toto XIV,’ their first album since 2006.

Perplexio

Perplexio

Perplexio also maintains a stand-alone blog called The Review Revue, where he explores music, movies and books. He spearheaded 'Saturdays in the Park,' our weekly multi-writer, song-by-song series focused on the music of Chicago. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Perplexio
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