TobyMac – Portable Sounds

Rating: 4/5

Interesting is the word that I use to sum up TobyMac’s third album since leaving Christian music group dc Talk. The album is his best to date as a solo artist and is a well-polished affair, with his signatures mixes of hip hop, rap, rock, pop and this time a little bit of opera. Portable Sounds opens with the hip hop beats of One World which, like his previous release, has flashbacks to his earlier albums with short little clips of lyrics and melodies. The first single from Portable Sounds, Made to Love, is the second track. This song is doing very well in both the New Zealand gospel charts and the US charts. Boomin’ is the first real rock/hip hop mix on Portable Sounds. It is one of my favourite songs on the album and the opera interlude at the end is a real laugh to end the song. Continuing on with the rock style, I’m for You, Face of the Earth, and Ignition have a sound that is similar to Thousand Foot Krutch (who are currently in the States touring with Mac) the songs are some of the best rock songs that TobyMac has produced. Track nine, Suddenly, sees TobyMac do a little bit of experimentation with punk rock, in a sound very similar to Hawk Nelson. Although I do not see it being a great success or a direction that the band wants to take, the song itself is really well done and a good laugh like the previous opera interlude. The album finishes off where it began in its hip hop roots. The last song in particular, Lose My Soul, which features Kirk Franklin and Mandisa (American Idol) is a really nice mix with a sound similar to the Black Eyes Peas’, Where’s the Love. Despite being so early in the year, I can say with confidence that Portable Sounds will be one of the gospel albums of the year. TobyMac has again produced an album that pushes the boundaries of musical genres and styles and confidently mixes between these in ways that most others would not even dream of trying.