Toto, “Endless” from Isolation (1984): Toto Tuesdays

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After the brief respite of “How Does It Feel,” Toto picks up the pace again on 1984’s Isolation with “Endless.” “Angel Don’t Cry” was released as a single showcasing Fergie Frederiksen’s voice, but I’d argue that “Endless” would have been a better choice.

“Endless” is at least as good a showcase a Fergie’s tweeter-frying high range. I’d argue it’s also considerably more accessible than “Angel Don’t Cry.” Jeff and Mike Porcaro lay down a solid groove, the lyrics are eminently catchy and the casual listener should feel at least moderately comfortable having a crack at singing along within his/her own range — whereas “Angel Don’t Cry” takes a vocalist into high reaches of tenorland where no Toto vocalist had gone before.

Back in the days of the LP and/or cassette tape, “Endless” was/is the perfect Side 2 opener. That hook gets under the skin and does not let go. It’s also an excellent bookend with the David Paich-sung “Holyanna” — a song which is equally catchy and just as accessible — being its counterpart on the tail end of Isolation.

While I loved Fergie Frederiksen’s voice and felt his tenure in Toto was far too short (and I’m also a big Joe Williams fan, so that’s saying something), I do understand why this album did not receive the same response as Toto IV. The contrast between Frederiksen and Bobby Kimball is rather stark, and perhaps that contrast is most noticeable on songs like “Endless.”

It certainly shares the pop sensibility that made Toto IV so popular but, for listeners who had come to know and appreciate Bobby’s voice, the shift to Fergie can be a bit jarring. For me, however that voice was a breath of fresh air. And whenever I think of Fergie’s tenure in the band, this is my go-to track.

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

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