YOUR CHRISTIAN MUSIC RADIO & NEWS SOURCE

Friday, August 01, 2014
Christian Music Family Rewards
Read this month's magazine
Albums / tobyMac / Portable Sounds
Portable Sounds

Portable Sounds

Christa A. Banister
Always one to embrace what’s new technologically speaking, tobyMac gives the iPod generation exactly what it wants on his third solo outing, Portable Sounds – plenty of radio-friendly singles that warrant repeated listens.

Instead of going for the whole cohesive album vibe that’s largely unappreciated these days anyway, it’s apparent that tobyMac invested his creative energy in recording highly listenable songs that reflect his musical tastes of the moment – classic funk, reggae, R&B and, of course, hip-hop.

But in the spirit of keeping the audience guessing what’s up his proverbial sleeve, there are also a few surprises on Portable Sounds. Most notably, it’s the use of live instrumentation rather than the programmed sounds and extraneous samples of albums past that really stands out. Whether it’s on the energetic opener “One World” where Joanna Valencia (who also performed on Momentum and Welcome to Diverse City) ultimately steals the show with her powerhouse chops or the laidback groove of his irresistibly catchy first single, “Made to Love,” the live strings and horns add a new vibrancy and potency to his sound.

Another key element that separates Portable Sounds from its predecessors is the more pop-friendly nature of songs such as “I’m for You” and “Suddenly” where tobyMac sings more than he rhymes, which is a pleasant change of pace. Although he’s been a Gold-selling solo artist for the better part of this decade, these tracks are a nice homage to the dc Talk era. It’s such a logical progression, in fact, that one half expects Michael Tait and Kevin Max to crash the party.

Aside from all the cosmetic changes from a sonic perspective, however, there seems to be a marked shift in tobyMac’s songwriting strategy. While there’s still plenty of unabashed fun to be had on the horn-driven “No Ordinary Love,” which highlights the spectacular singing of Nirva Dorsaint, a member of his “Diverse City” touring band and the funky “Feelin’ So Fly,” there’s far more lyrical depth on Portable Sounds.

With “No Signal,” a sweet ode to his family, tobyMac reaffirms his life’s priorities in a song that’ll likely generate a collective “awwh” when anyone listens. One-upping it, though, is “Lose My Soul,” which, in the vein of “Burn for You” from Welcome to Diverse City, is an introspective prayer that gives listeners a rare glimpse of the man behind the artist.

While he’s always talked candidly about what he cares about in terms of social commentary, revealing moments like these have been few and far between. Now, here’s hoping for a few more of those next time around. In the meantime, Portable Sounds should do the trick for longtime and new fans alike.


_____________________
Review By: Christa A. Banister

 
 

ALBUM TRACKS

 
Song Title Length Play Price Buy MP3
 
One World
Album: Portable Sounds
3:51 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Made To Love
Album: Portable Sounds
3:54 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Boomin'/Opera Trip Interlude
Album: Portable Sounds
4:03 $0.99 Buy Song
 
I'm For You
Album: Portable Sounds
3:47 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Face Of The Earth/Chuck @ Artist Development Interlude
Album: Portable Sounds
4:39 $0.99 Buy Song
 
No Ordinary Love
Album: Portable Sounds
3:17 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Ignition
Album: Portable Sounds
3:53 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Hype Man (Trudog '07)
Album: Portable Sounds
1:41 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Suddenly
Album: Portable Sounds
3:40 $0.99 Buy Song
 
All In (Letting Go)/Mr. Talkbox Interlude
Album: Portable Sounds
4:34 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Feelin' So Fly
Album: Portable Sounds
3:50 $0.99 Buy Song
 
No Signal
Album: Portable Sounds
1:11 $0.99 Buy Song
 
Lose My Soul/Afterparty
Album: Portable Sounds
6:17 $0.99 Buy Song
Get the Flash Player to play songs.
9.9900

FAN REVIEWS & COMMENTS

 
Be the first to comment!
 

TOBYMAC ALBUMS

 
A Night To Remember
(March 2014)
A Night To Remember
0 user reviews
Remixd
(March 2014)
Remixd
0 user reviews
Aviva
(August 2013)
Aviva
0 user reviews
Revival
(August 2013)
Revival
0 user reviews
Eye On It
(August 2012)
Eye On It
1 user reviews
Eye On It (Deluxe Edition)
(August 2012)
Eye On It (Deluxe Edition)
0 user reviews
Dubbed & Freq'd: A Remix Project
(March 2012)
Dubbed & Freq'd: A Remix Project
1 user reviews
Tonight
(February 2010)
Tonight
1 user reviews
Portable Sounds (With Bonus Remixes)
(December 2008)
Portable Sounds (With Bonus Remixes)
0 user reviews
Alive And Transported
(May 2008)
Alive And Transported
0 user reviews
Portable Sounds
(February 2007)
Portable Sounds
0 user reviews
Renovating Diverse City
(August 2005)
Renovating Diverse City
0 user reviews
Welcome To Diverse City
(October 2004)
Welcome To Diverse City
0 user reviews
Re: Mix Momentum
(January 2003)
Re: Mix Momentum
0 user reviews
Momentum
(January 2001)
Momentum
0 user reviews
 
Todays Christian Music Rewards