Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Toto makes awesome music, not french fries

If that explanation of my star rating system in iTunes seemed a bit out of character for this blog, it was done to give context about how I like certain songs more than others. I`m a little concerned that anyone who skims my posts may get the impression that I think all music is equal, but I think I covered that pretty well when I said they are equally important because each song has at least one fan, which gives it a seat at the table, if you will.

Today I want to talk about one of my favourite songs, and explain why I love it so much. It`s one of those songs that appeals to me on many levels, making it one of my all-time favourites and one that I could listen to any time, any day. It gets a 4-star rating. The song is Falling In Between by Toto, from the album of the same name released in 2006. First of all, it just plain rocks. It`s one of those songs that makes you dance even if you are sitting down. Staying still while this song plays is not an option.

Warning: Technical musical stuff ahead. If that bores you skip ahead.
After a brief intro, the verse starts at about 21 seconds in. We`re in the key of D, with no third present in the chord, just open fifths. The first note sung by Bobby Kimball is a C one octave above middle C. Not only is this an impressively high note for a male singer to hit full voice, but it is the 7th of the D chord underneath it. And he really hits it too. Underneath this fairly long note, the bass and guitar of Mike Porcaro and Steve Lukather respectively hammer out a rhythm consisting of alternating 3 quick notes with 2 slightly separated ones adding up to a pattern that is two and a half beats long in four-four time. This happens six times, bringing us to the 3rd beat of the fourth bar. That fourth bar is in five-four time, with the last two beats consisting of twelve 32nd notes and an 8th note played by Steve Lukather (and maybe Greg Phillinganes on keys). This song not only rocks, it showcases amazing technical chops as well as some very creative writing. It really fires on all cylinders.

The chorus includes vocals harmonized in fourths, there`s a great solo from Steve Lukather (but all his solos are great anyway), some full band chords that I still haven`t tried to figure out on the 3-2 rhythmic pattern, and a heavy riff that takes over at the 2:14 mark. The last 30 seconds or so is reminiscent of classic Toto hits like Rosanna and 99.
Okay, technical stuff is over.

What makes this a great song is that combination of pure raw rock with the more complex stuff. It appeals to me on a bunch of levels. It is definitely a complex menu item, not just french fries.

You`ll find a sample on Toto`s official page here, and a live version here.

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