It\’s been 14 years since DC Talk went on hiatus and Tobymac released his solo debut- Momentum. Over the last decade-and-a-half, his sound has evolved drastically, going from a more hard rock/rap sound to a more electronic and hip hop sound.
It\’s not often an artist achieves a career first more than 10 years into their solo career, but with 2012\’s Eye On It, Tobymac did just that with his first no. 1 chart position on the Billboard 200- something some artists never reach. Fast forward to 2015 and Tobymac is back with his seventh album in This Is Not A Test and he\’s gone back to the sounds he used on albums like Portable Sounds and Welcome to Diverse City, switching things up as he always does.
Much like some of his previous albums, Tobymac opens with a track that doesn\’t sound much like the rest of the album in “Like A Match,” which is much more poppy than the other tracks but is still very strong. From there he takes us into “Backseat Diver,” which features Hollyn Tru and is a dynamic back and forth between the two and is classic Tobymac.
The title track is reminiscent of the title track to Eye On It or “Unstoppable” from that same album and leads right into “Light Shine Bright,” which is very hip-hop/dance-oriented and will have you dancing right where you are- don\’t worry, it\’s okay to make a scene.
That song ends with an audio skit of a press conference where members of the press ask Tobymac questions, which end by asking him how long he can keep going at the pace he goes at, leading into “Till The Day I Die” which features christian rapper NF.
Lead single “Beyond Me,” is a powerful and upbeat track that\’s perfect for the arena tours that lie ahead of Tobymac- whether it be a headline arena tour or the annual Winter Jam tour, this song is an anthem if there ever was one.
It wouldn\’t be a Tobymac album if there wasn\’t some connection to DC Talk and he brings in Kevin Max and Michael Tait for “Love Feels Like.” This is a more fitting song for DC Talk than “Atmosphere” off Welcome to Diverse City. That song was more like “Consume Me” “Just Between You And Me” while this one would have fit perfectly on “Supernatural” or “Jesus Freak” and is more in the vein of “Supernatural” or “Minds Eye.”
As a whole, this may be one of Tobymac\’s strongest albums yet- if not the most musically diverse. Tobymac\’s faith has never faltered or been in question when you look at his lyrics or listen to the message behind them and This Is Not a Test is no exception. This is Tobymac at his best and longtime fans and recent fans alike will have no trouble finding something to love.