On the occasion of their 20th anniversary they surprised their fans with an album containing previously unreleased songs (XX). This time the members of the band were in search of songs from the 60's and 70's that highly influenced their musical development.
The new, 15th album Through the looking glass turns out to be a collection of 11 very versatile tributes. The first single taken from the album is an up-tempo version of the Bob Marley classic Could you be loved.
Those who followed Toto's musical career through the years, know that the band and the individual members are effecting their efforts from a wide musical spectrum. Their albums regularly are collections of solid melodic rock songs and ballads clearly affected by fusion, soul, funk, reggae and mainstream pop. Their numberless contributions to the albums of divergent artists like Michael Jackson, Dianna Ross, Don Henley, Boz Scaggs, Earth, Wind & Fire, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Chicago and Elton John emphasize that wide spectrum.
Their all-round musicianship and their shortage of real trendsetting musical renewals at the same time feeded too many criticaster who portrayed Toto as a "band without balls". Especially the Toto IV period (1982-1983), with the classic hits Rosanna and Africa and a collection of eight Grammy's, made it clear that there's a huge difference between the tast of the critics and the taste of the fans.
Anyway, those who are looking for versatile musical handstands and give ear to the warm and passionate way the Toto guys are making music, will have ample great moments listening to Through the looking glass. Especially with the surprising interpretations of Bodhisattva (Steely Dan), Maiden voyage (Herbie Hancock), While my guitar gebtly wheeps (George Harrison), Living for the city (Stevie Wonder) and Watching the detectives (Elvis Costello).
According to star guitarist Steve Lukather (who won a Grammy again earlier this year for his No substitutions project with Larry Carlton) we can consider the new album especially a showcase of Toto's capacities as producers, arrangers and musical craftsmen. The songs are classics already. After the anniversary tour Toto will start writing their own songs again. In the meantime we can celebrate a highly recommended musical party!
Heaven 5/6, November/December 2002