LABEL: FOREFRONT RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 28, 2012
I like Toby Mac as much as the next guy. He’s been a mainstay on the Christian music scene for a number of years now. But Eye On It has got to be one of his worst projects to date. Taking a number of cues from mainstream pop culture and executing them poorly, this outing furthers my disappointment with his career as of late. While this project isn’t everything that is wrong with Christian pop music, it is that saccharine, surface-level mediocre sound that appeals to far too many Christians. With a few exceptions, this endeavor is wholly forgettable.
After a too-long intro, “Eye On It” spirals into a hot mess. This might have been cool on Jesus Freak (c. 1994), but today it feels like nothing more than a clash of synth pop sounds, lacks any type of lyrical pop, bombastic beats without purpose, and the singing on the hook feels thrown in as afterthought.
After years of wanting Reach Records-mainstream-crossover Lecrae to pair up with T-Mac, the pairing finally happened to less than enthusiastic results. “Forgiveness” is not necessarily a bad song, but this partnership could have produced something better than a low-key number with a rasta-pop sound foreign to both artists’ respective styles. This song is an example of “giving the fans what they want” without any real attention to detail.
“Unstoppable” (feat. Blanca from Group 1 Crew) is arguably the most “fun” song on the project and I still have no intention of ever listening to it again. Strike that. I might add it to my work out mix. There is a solid mix of rock and rap on this particular number, but when it hits the chorus things fall a bit flat.
“Lose Myself” is the one track on Eye On It that I feel showcases Toby Mac doing what he does well. The lyrics are cheesy at points, but the delivery is solid and the artist zoned in on something special to make this happen. Not too fast and not too slow, not too out there and not too reigned in, we have a song that is both straight-ahead enough and contemplative enough to merit a few enjoyable replays.
The one thing Toby Mac does have going for him as an artist is his ability to transform lackluster music into a nice live performance. Delivered in concert, these songs have the ability to work over a crowd quite nicely. He’s got that “feel-good, drive with the drop top down, lazy days of summer” sound down pat. However, as a singular listening experience, it upset me to have to listen to Eye On It more than once to give it an appropriate review.
Here’s what’s missing from Toby Mac’s last two studio outings: passion. Don’t get me wrong. I have great respect for the man and the career he’s had. But what made his solo debut (and subsequent Re:Mix) so exceptional is the fact that it dripped with passion. There is clear musical progression and “understanding the times” in his music since then, but the passion he delivers in his concerts even now was the same passion with which he delivered music on Momentum. Both Tonight and Eye On It lack that lyrical punch and passion that characterized T-Mac’s early solo career.
And while the truDog tracks in the past were cute, they’re not as funny or cute anymore. It’s always funny to hear a little kid hop on a track and be terrible and cute at the same time. But, now it’s getting serious and stupid. Little truDog is growing up and now he’s rapping about needing a Mac computer on the “cleverly”-title track, “Mac Daddy.”
I know this project is going to sell well regardless of what I say about it. Of the three dcTalk alums, Toby Mac is arguably the most popular and successful. But, the name of the game isn’t popularity or success. Just ask Nickelback. That said, I really cannot recommend Eye On It. It’s just not a good album.