Toto, “Make Believe” from Toto IV (1982): Toto Tuesdays

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For years I’ve had a bit of an anti-Toto IV bias, because it was so successful it got a bit played out compared to other Toto albums. I gravitated more towards the rest of the band’s catalog, which often got lost in the shadows, so to speak.

In recent years, I’ve kept my ears a bit more open and come to appreciate the reason Toto IV was so overplayed: It was and is such a stellar album. While some of the songs are better than others, even the weakest of the material on the album would be the best of the material on albums by lesser bands.

Being the youngest of six kids, my musical tastes have always gravitated towards the late ’70s and early ’80s. By the time Toto IV was released, there were only 2 of us kids left living at home. I was in kindergarten and the youngest of my older brothers was a senior in high school. He was a devotee of Columbia House (as I was a handful of years later) and some of the musical selections that found rotation on his stereo included Chicago 16, 17, and Toto IV. I only mention Chicago now because I gravitated to their use of horns, so the material on Toto IV that featured horns caught my ear before the rest of the album.

“Make Believe” has catchy lyrics, a solid groove, features some of Bobby Kimball’s best vocals of either of his tenures in Toto, and to top it all off for this lover of horns in rock: It has some killer sax playing by Jon Smith. “Make Believe” is one of the reasons I’m still longing for the day to see Toto and Chicago tour together. I’d love to hear Walt Parazaider (or his longtime stand-in Ray Hermann) tackle that gem.

I’m not generally a fan of Bobby Kimball’s vocals. I’ve always gravitated more towards Joseph Williams and the late Fergie Frederiksen but I’d argue that, of all the Kimball-sung songs, “Make Believe” is probably a favorite — second only to “You Are the Flower.” His vocals dance around Smith’s sax and Jeff Porcaro’s solid groove. When you toss in the vastly different keyboard stylings of David Paich and Steve Porcaro, it blends together as an example of how a well-crafted pop song should sound.

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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