Toto, “These Chains” from The Seventh One (1988): Toto Tuesdays

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Part of the brilliance of Toto’s music is the seeming effortlessness that they bring to the table. Being session cats, music comes naturally to them. Its in their blood and in their bones.

“These Chains” has the same kind of easy-going, smooth and subtle natural groove. In the context of 1988’s The Seventh One, it can almost be overlooked. After all, songs like “Pamela,” “Stop Loving You,” “Straight For the Heart” and “Home of the Brave” power what is easily one of Toto’s best albums. It’s easy to see how a song like “These Chains” could get lost in the mix.

The Porcaro brothers lay down that tight groove, and David Paich’s keyboard work is brilliant in its simplicity and subtlety. Both act as a perfect canvas for Steve Lukather’s guitar playing and vocals. While a lot of The Seventh One does sound a bit dated due to the over-the-top late ’80s production of George Massenburg and Bill Payne, I’d argue that “These Chains” has aged better than much of the rest of this studio effort. While the era’s telltale production is still evident, the relaxed groove and easy-going vocals on “These Chains” gives the song a timelessness that is a refreshing counterpoint to some of the more dated material here.

Admittedly, the first few times I listened to Toto’s The Seventh One, “These Chains” didn’t really grab me. What I didn’t realize, however, was that with every listen it was sinking its hooks into me deeper. Sometimes, your favorites jump out and grab you – and other times they sneak up on you and catch you unaware. “These Chains” is definitely in the latter category.

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.

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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