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

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I was a bit late to the party for Toto’s 1984 album Isolation. I didn’t hear any tracks from the album until about 1997 or 1998, long after it had been released. I remember being totally floored the first time I heard Fergie Frederiksen’s stratospheric tenor on “Carmen.” Considering Fergie did a lion’s share of the “heavy lifting” on the vocals for Isolation, I was in for a real treat.

The thing is with Fergie Frederiksen’s vocals is that they are so overpowering that even in the background they can cast a shadow over the lead vocals. Such is the case with Toto’s “Holyanna,” and yet even with Fergie’s soaring background vocals overpowering David Paich’s lead vocals, the song still works and works well.

The Toto two vocalists serve as brilliant counterpoints to one another. On “Carmen,” the differences in their voices was almost jarring. With “Holyanna,” the contrast is far more complementary and works to the benefit of both vocalists as they end up accenting one another’s strong points.

The vocals and harmonies coupled with the catchy hook, the horn fills, and the tight rhythm make “Holyanna” perhaps Toto’s second best “name” song. (It’s second only to “Rosanna,” of course.) Unfortunately, much to their detriment, the listening public didn’t take notice and “Holyanna” failed to enjoy the commercial success of many of Toto’s other singles. While it does sound somewhat dated today, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable and catchy song that is a joy to sing along to.

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.

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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