Toto, “Straight for the Heart” from The Seventh One (1988): Toto Tuesdays

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“Straight for the Heart” appears to be a straight-forward rock-pop single, but Toto always adds a level of sophistication to make their songs different.

Joseph Williams continues to shine with his vocal delivery. Here, he effectively emotes the anticipation and angst of a budding love with a hint of sexual prowess. The lyrics are nothing new, but they are catchy.

Jeff Porcaro’s 4/4 back beat is precise and relentless. Additionally, he provides a tom-tom overdub which, while unneeded, does not distract from the song. Mike Porcaro’s bass is a perfect foil to his brother’s back beat, as he includes some unexpected slapping which gives this song a kick.

Saxophonist Jim Horn provides support with his tenor over the chorus, and even an all-too-brief end-of-song solo. Singer Patti Austin helps out on the chorus and backing vocals, which furthers the track’s pop sensibilities – as does Steve Lukather’s well-placed power chords.

All these elements should have made this Williams/David Paich composition at least a moderate hit, yet this fourth single from 1988’s The Seventh One went unnoticed – perhaps signaling the shift in Toto’s U.S. chart fortunes permanently.

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

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
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