Toto, “Time is the Enemy” from ‘Tambu’ (1995): Toto Tuesdays

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Fee Waybill of the Tubes makes his sole songwriting contribution to 1995’s Tambu on Toto’s “Time is the Enemy.” Lyrically, it meets the high bar set by the other songs on this album with a melancholy look at life. The lyrics also have an unusually abstract feel, which could feel at home in a progressive-rock song:

“Those days we gave our all
I bravely faced the fall
No reflection
Freak armies of the night.
I fought the useless fight
Don’t cry for me
Time is the enemy
Soon I’ll be free
I surrender
Sweet moon, she marks the year

Toto and coproducer/engineer Elliott Schneider create a feel on “Time is the Enemy,” however, which is anything but prog.

Steve Lukather’s vocals continue to awe. Given the trouble Toto had with lead vocalists, as documented in Lukather’s newly released biography The Gospel According to Luke, it’s amazing that Luke wasn’t tapped to sing lead vocals along with David Paich from the beginning.

Paich’s acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes give “Time is the Enemy” an old-school vibe which hints at Steely Dan. The vocal arrangements, long a Paich staple, are equally stellar, as Toto combines an R&B-inspired call and response with a few soulful vocal tags from Jenny Douglas-McRae. Mike Porcaro and Simon Phillips seem to lay back moving the back beat along with authority yet never stepping on the melody. Phillips never tries to emulate Jeff Porcaro, yet delivers a feel which helps to make this song so engaging.

“Time is the Enemy,” which was part of a CD single with “The Turning Point,” is another deep cut which could use some dusting off by Toto. Let’s hope it makes an appearance on their set list soon.

Toto Tuesdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the band’s rich musical history. They returned with three new songs on 2018’s ’40 Trips Around the Sun.’

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 [email protected]; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Preston Frazier
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