Toto, “Can You Hear What I’m Saying” from Past to Present (1990): Toto Tuesdays

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No matter what one’s feelings may be about Jean-Michael Byron’s brief tenure, he did have a decent voice and in my humble opinion Toto made the best of a less-than-ideal situation with the bonus tracks on Past to Present: 1977-1990.

In particular, “Can You Hear What I’m Saying” ranks as one of the better songs Toto has ever recorded. It’s the ultimate lemonade from what many consider to be the lemon in the band’s history.

Mike Porcaro was always an exceptional bass player, but in the past it was more subtle and in the background. This track put his bass playing front and center, with a spotlight shining on it. As Steve Lukather told me recently, “Mike’s bass riff is the song!” Listening to “Can You Hear What I’m Saying,” one can’t help but agree.

Thee groove is pure symbiosis: The late brothers Mike and Jeff Porcaro are so in sync, so in the pocket together, that they sound as one — perhaps as only two brothers could. It’s that groove that makes “Can You Hear What I’m Saying” as enjoyable today as the first time I listened to it on cassette in the early ’90s.

It’s a pity this track is a product of an era of Toto that they would prefer to forget. Then and as now, this song is exceptional and it remains a joy to listen to. In fact, “Can You Hear What I’m Saying” is something I wouldn’t mind seeing dusted off and added to Toto’s live set.


Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the band’s 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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