Tobymac. The man, the myth, the legend. Much can be said about his impact on the Christian music industry. Between his genre-shaking supergroup Dctalk (1987-2001*), to a Gotee record label co-founder/owner (1994-present), to a solo career still going, the man has had an undeniable impact. I mean, he’s released 16 albums across these 19-20 years of solo work, and well over 100 songs! Clearly, the dude is anything but lazy. In fact, an argument could be made for his inclusion on the Mount Rushmore of Christian music at this point. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Personally, I always unfairly held him responsible for “breaking up the band,” but as the years passed, my disappointment and anger over how the intermission was handled, and with the maturity that comes from living life, I’ve been able to more fully appreciate each of the individual members solo work. Ultimately, we got three timeless albums from Dctalk, and now a multiplicity of excellent and diverse works from each singer.
Anyway, even as his discography continues to expand, I thought I’d get a head start on ranking Toby’s regular non-Christmas, non-remix, non-live song catalogue. Also, I would love to try and comment on each song, but that’s overwhelming so I’ll just highlight a few favorites here and there. Let’s get this party started!
*84. “I’m Sorry”
Still too fresh to properly rank…likely in the bottom half of his catalogue when all is said and done.
*83. “21 Years”
Still too fresh to properly rank…and heart-breaking. 😢
82. “Gotta Go” – Welcome To Diverse City
81. “Unstoppable” – Eye On It
80. “Lose Myself” – Eye On It
79. “Family” – Eye On It
78. “Thankful for You” – Eye On It
77. “Made for Me” – Eye On It
76. “Favorite Song” – Eye On It
Yes, as may have guessed it by now, Eye on It is my least favorite T-Mac album. 😂
75. “Changed Forever” – Tonight
74. “Hold On” – Tonight
73. “Hey Devil” – Tonight
Never been a fan of this one, feels cringe-y even to this day.
72. “Wonderin” – Tonight
Funky and fun like much of his catalogue.
71. “Suddenly” – Portable Sounds
70. “All In (Letting Go) / Mr. Talkbox” – Portable Sounds
68. “Feelin’ So Fly” – Portable Sounds
68. “No Signal” – Portable Sounds
67. “Captured” – Tonight
66. “Start Somewhere” – Tonight
65. “In the Air” – Momentum
64. “Atmosphere” – Welcome To Diverse City
The remix dctalk version serves to make this one pale in comparison.
63. “Face Of the Earth” – Portable Sounds
62. “Beyond Me” – This Is Not A Test
61. “Undeniable” – This Is Not A Test
60. “See The Light” – The Elements
59. “Break Open The Sky” – Tonight
Swing and sway to this breezy reggae-infused call of the hope of the second coming.
58. “Stories (Down To the Bottom)” – Welcome To Diverse City
57. “It’s You” – The Elements
56. “Horizon (A New Day)” – The Elements
55. “Showstopper” – Tonight
The rap/rock that I personally thought he did best on momentum returns here for a pretty solid tune.
54. “Everything” – The Elements
53. “Get Back Up” – Tonight
Catchy (aren’t all of his?!) little pop ditty that should in retrospect be higher on the list.
52. “Funky Jesus Music” – Tonight
51. “Forgiveness – (featuring Lecrae)” – Eye On It
50. “Like a Match” – This Is Not A Test
49. “The Slam” – Welcome To Diverse City
Destined to get placement in a sports promo/commercial, and it did.
48. “No Ordinary Love” – Portable Sounds
47. “Hello Future” – The Elements
46. “Overflow” – The Elements
45. “Ignition” – Portable Sounds
44. “Phenomenon” – Welcome To Diverse City
43. “Do You Know” – Momentum
42. “Feel It” – This Is Not a Test
Dance-y…like impossible to sit still when listening to this one. Atleast a toe-tap.
41. “Wonderin’ Why” – Momentum
40. “Somebody’s Watching” – Momentum
39. “Getaway Car”- Welcome To Diverse City
38. “This Is Not a Test” – This Is Not a Test
I absolutely love this one in concert. This album restored my faith in his solo stuff when I had started losing interest.
37. “The Elements” – The Elements
36. “Love is In the House” – Momentum
It’s a chill and mellow jam.
35. “Tonight” – Tonight
The best song from the first solo Toby that didn’t fully connect with me.
34. “Get This Party Started” – Momentum
The first notes of his first solo venture, I’ll always associate this with high expectations (which were met and exceeded) and tie it to the following track just below.
33. “What’s Goin’ Down“ – Momentum
32. “Ill-M-I” – Welcome To Diverse City
31. “Move (Keep Walkin’)” – This Is Not A Test
This stomper is a great example of one I like much better in concert than on the album, translates better in my opinion.
30. “Love Broke Thru” – This Is Not A Test
29. “Steal My Show” – Eye On It
28. “One World” – Portable Sounds
27. “Eye On It” – Eye On It
Eye on It the album was a letdown for me, but I think it just connects better live…same with the title track here.
26. “Lights Shine Bright” – This Is Not A Test
25. “Diverse City” – Welcome To Diverse City
Toby likes to mix in the funk and I think he did it best here.
24. “Boomin’ / Opera Trip” – Portable Sounds
23. “I’m For You” – Portable Sounds
22. “Starts With Me” – The Elements
A great duet with Aaron Cole concerning racial reconciliation, a life-long message of Toby’s, and still a much-needed one.
21. “Scars” – The Elements
All the more poignant, powerful, and heartbreaking now, considering what happened with his oldest song Truett.
20. “Love Feels Like (Dctalk)” – This Is Not A Test
I thought this would have been the song to finally bring them back together for more united Dctalk songs. Alas, no…but still a truly great tune nonetheless.
19. “Gone” – Welcome To Diverse City
18. “Edge of My Seat” – The Elements
17. “Irene” – Momentum
16. “Backseat Driver” – This Is Not A Test
15. “Speak Life” – Eye On It
What a great song to get on the radio for ears to hear. Terrific message and a great reminder of the power of words.
14. “City On Our Knees” – Tonight
13. “Momentum” – Momentum
11. “Yours” – Momentum
10. “Me Without You” (Telemetry ReMix) – Eye On It
This remix is so much fresher and better. an ear work if there ever was one.
9. “J Train” – Momentum
8. “Made to Love” – Portable Sounds
7. “Atmosphere Remix (Dctalk)” – Welcome To Diverse City
Silky smooth pop that showcases all the best things that made Dctalk one of the best ever.
6. “Hey Now” – Welcome To Diverse City
Infectious. Bouncy. Hard for me to hear without putting a smile on my face.
5. “Burn For You” – Welcome To Diverse City
Perhaps His best vertical lyric? Another concert favorite.
4. “Til the Day I Die” – This Is Not A Test
3. “Extreme Days” – Momentum
2. “I Just Need U.” – The Elements
I almost had this one at number one it’s just so dang catchy!
1. “Catchafire (Whoopsi-Daisy)” – Welcome To Diverse City
When compiling this list, this was one of maybe three that I knew would vie for the top spot. Such tight production and almost indie hip-hop feel. I still feel that Welcome to Diversity was Toby at his solo music peak.
What about you, what are your favorite Tobymac songs? Hit me with a top 10!
1. J Train
2. Love is in the House
3. Diverse City
5. Get This Party Started
6. What’s Going Down
7. The Slam
8. Made to Love
11. Extreme Days
13. Lose My Soul
18. Funky Jesus Music
19. Speak Life
I’m not locked into the specific order but this is my best shot.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Okay guys. Deep breath. The Mount Rushmore of Christian Artists is indeed TobyMac, Michael W Smith, Streven Curtis Chapman and Amy Grant (and in my mind she may or may not be wearing the cute hat she wore in Baby Baby).
How can we have such an appreciation for the same artist and yet be so different?? I will argue Toby Mac fans are very much like this, because he has three styles – Toby Hiphop (Diversity album), Toby Master of Pop (Me without you) and Toby CCM crooner (City on our knees).
I love, as you will see, Toby Master of pop. I semi-enjoy Toby Hiphop and cannot stand Toby CCM crooner. FYI, Eye on it is his best album (DONT STOP READING!!)
25. Getaway car (Welcome)
24. Start somewhere (Tonight)
23. Backseat driver (this is not a test)
22. Made to love (Portable)
21. Beyond me (this is not a test)
20. Steal my show (eye on it)
19. Irene (momentum)
18. Burn for you (Remixing divercity) (the only song with has been improved with a remix)
17. Its you (Elements)
16. I just need you (Elements)
15. Somebodys watching (momentum)
14. Like a match (This is not a test)
13. Get back up (tonight)
`12. All in (portable)
11. Scars (Elements)
10. I’m for you (Portable)
9. Changed forever (tonight)
8. Love is in the house (momentum)
7. Starts with me (Elements)
6. Lose my soul (Portable)
5. No Ordinary love (Portable)
4. Feel it.(This is not a test) Almost too cheesy by pulls it off.
3. Lose myself (Eye on it) (I cannot even fathom how this is so low on the above list. Did a drunk monkey hack your account??)
2. Everything. (Elements) So darned good.
1. Me without you. (Eye on it) Why would you remix this? Its pop perfection! Its my #1 song of the 2010s decade. Would you add paint to the Mona Lisa? NO! Leave this song alone and enjoy its brilliance.
Look, we can agree to disagree in spite of wildly different lists. But there is no one else in Christian music who has continually made relevant music with hit singles since the early 90s. In fact I would argue there is no one in mainstream still having hit singles continually since the early 90s. My hat is off.
Can’t argue with your analysis – it’s the hip hop Toby (and the rap-rock-fusion) that I love, but I really enjoy a lot of his poppier songs and some have become standards in our home – Made to Love, Everything, I Just Need You…
When Eye On It first came out I listened to Me Without You, but it didn’t leave an impression other than thinking “if this is an attempt to appeal to mewithoutYou fans, I don’t think it’s going to work” – I don’t think I listened to it again until I played it earlier today. My three girls instantly dropped what they were doing and started busting moves in the living room, so it’ll be part of our playlist from now on!
By the way, I have a feeling that drunk monkey might have deleted Catchafire from your list 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
Okay so I literally laughed out loud. Look, Catchafire just didn’t get under my skin like other tunes. Maybe I need to give it more of a try…
LikeLiked by 2 people
I was only fully onboard for the first two albums, though there have been quite a few songs I’ve enjoyed since then. Diverse City is such a fun album and nice to see the love for Catchafire (Whoopsidaisy*). Easily my favourite song of his.
Here’s a few Toby Mac guest vocals worth mentioning (I’m sure there are dozens of them I’m not aware of):
#3 Ooh Aah (Grits) – “my life be like… TOBY MAC!” Wish it didn’t do that, as it detracts from an otherwise fantastic song.
#2 Solid Rock (delirious) – one of my favourite worship bands and this is one of their best songs, has a memorable guitar riff and kind of a hip hop beat. Toby speaking/rapping “My hope is built on nothing less…” fits perfectly.
#1 What It Comes To (The OC Supertones) – I went through a short but intense phase where I loved the Supertones more than anything, and this song was my definition of cool and one of the first things I blasted from my car stereo as a new driver!
*You’re crazy (Sorry – since we’re British and have kids we do tend to say “whoopsidaisy”, and that’s the inevitable response.)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ooh Ahh is a jam
I’ll try for a top 10 at some point, but after Portable Sounds the musical direction he took kind of lost me. There are some songs that I like, but his move away from the harder edged sounds of his first few records isn’t my taste.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hear ya. His later pop stuff is hit or miss for me. I prefer rock/rap Toby too
I feel like his vision, starting with DC Talk, was to break boundaries and push Christian music into new directions. While I’m sure that his getting older is playing a role in this change, his later. poppier, material sounds too much like every other male CCM artist and tends to get lost in a sea of sameness.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yeah age and bills have a way in slowing us down in innovation. No shame in it but he’s settled into a pretty formulaic groove at this point.
This one is challenging. TobyMac is the guy who I say is NOT necessarily my favorite, but all his songs are on my playlist and I know the words to all of them. (So I’m a bigger fan than I’ll admit for some odd reason.)
12. Love Is In the House
Weird song. Mama always said, “It’s a matter of fact…” orrr maybe another similar lyric.
11. I’m for You
Is this a love song? Yeah choose to believe it is.
Used as a sports highlight bed often locally.
9. Eye On It
Blindsided by Britt Nicole
This one has to always be paired with…
Stereeereeeooo is the greatest made up word ever.
Proving once again that Toby is an underrated vocalist.
So glad you gave this thing its much due respect! Can sing it all day long.
4. Feel It
If you don’t feel this, you can’t feel!
3. Love Broke Thru
The first (and last) lyric of this song just wrecks me.
2. Lose My Soul
Are you a “punk”? Hustler? Tell me, what’s your type? (I see you, Kirk.)
1. City On Our Knees
I think this one’s the best because it illustrates a very simple point that people rarely talk about in Christian music. Prayer is beyond time and space. It brings us together in ways nothing else can.
LikeLiked by 1 person