Toto, “A Secret Love” from Hydra (1979): Toto Tuesdays

Share this:

The title track and opener from Toto’s 1979 album Hydra was a progressive-rock juggernaut. Their album-closing “A Secret Love,” by contrast, is a tender and evocative love song.

Part of the ballad’s musical heft may have resulted from the contributions of co-writer Steve Porcaro, who has so often provided tender yet harmonically complex ballads during his tenure with Toto. “A Secret Love” starts with a similarly complex synthesizer intro, which leads to David Paich’s classically based piano flourish.

<<< BACKWARD (“White Sister”) ||| ONWARD (“Gift with a Golden Gun”) >>>

Bobby Kimball again employs the top of his register but, unlike in the prior “White Sister,” goes more for sensitivity than power. Kimball’s approach works well, building on the layered synthesizer string backing and a harpsichord-sounding keyboard part.

Is “A Secret Love” intended to return to Toto’s beginning themes of mysticism and dragons? Does the song refer back to the “White Sister”? The listener is left with more questions than answers.

Indeed, Toto’s “A Secret Love” seems to only include the composers – David Paich, Bobby Kimball and Steve Porcaro – with the rest of the band sitting this one out. That makes for a weird, but fitting, end to a mixed bag of songs on Toto’s sophomore release.

Their next project, 1981’s Turn Back, would leave no doubt just what Toto was shooting for.

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.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
Share this:
Close