Remastered or not remastered, there is normally no need for the world to receive another Best Of-album by TOTO. Especially considering the upcoming super box that is planned to be released by the band later this year (with what are said to be great remastered versions of all their albums - all released on vinyl as well!). However, there are three new tracks here and at least two of them are surprisingly good!
The first of these three songs to pop up at streaming services like Spotify was "Alone". It almost blew me away, since I've been quite disappointed by the last albums by TOTO. This song has got the kind of arrangements and sound that I think these guys should have in 2018. This is how the "XIV" album should have sounded like, but lacked so desperately. The band claimed that the "XIV" was the natural "follow-up" to "IV" (but of course with the modern technology and sound that is inevitable), but I couldn't hear a fraction of that. Instead, "Alone" is what we should have heard on “XVI”.
The second one to be up at the streaming services was "Spanish Sea" - a song that was written during the "Isolation" sessions but never made it for the album. Now, the guys have written a new chorus and freshened the song up. The song has got the same beat as “Africa” and some other similarities as well, so one can understand why the band chose not to include it on the “Isolation” album. However, it’s a splendid song! Toto in 2018 should sound exactly like this, and JOSEPH WILLIAMS sings so great!
Then the third new grack to be included on “40 trips around the sun”, which is entitled “Struck by ligthtning”. I guess the title alone sholuld have given me warning signs. This one is the hard rocking TOTO that I have never come to terms with. Sure, it has some cool arrangements including some backbeat and also a soft part that reminds a little of the TOTO we all love. But otherwise…. Nah. Great musicianship and all, but stylewise far from what TOTO should be doing.
Also, it is sad that new bassplayer and backing vocalist SHEM VON SHROECK was recruited just shortly after the recordings of these new songs. He would probably have been involved as a musician otherwise. As it turned out on these new recordings, the choice of musicians was quite diverse (but great!). STEVE LUKATHER plays bass (and of course guitar) on “Alone” and “Struck by lightning” and VINNIE COLAIUTA plays drums on both tracks. On “Spanish Sea” they have been able to keep old takes with JEFF PORCARO’s drums and his brother MIKE PORCARO’s bass. That’s lovely!
On the downside, not a single word when it comes to liner notes. Only a listing and info of the albums that the chosed songs were taken from. So now let’s just hope that the other box (of old and never before released material!) will really see the light of day, with lots of cool music, liner notes and all. The Sony Columbia Legacy label needs to improve in that aspect, no offense meant.