Thursday, September 3, 2009

Toto's "Africa" - I Bless the Rains!

For a period in my life back in '07 or so, it seemed like Toto's "Africa" was following me around everywhere I went. Granted, I went through a phase where I was thoroughly obsessed with the song and its accompanying album, Toto IV (probably due to my discovery of Toto through the Yacht Rock series). This obsession started off as ironic, and gradually morphed into a genuine, authentic love for the song, which to my ears still exudes sonic and melodic perfection. The Toto boys were the master craftsmen of studio work in the early 80s, and it is no coincidence that Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, in their plotting to rule the world, recruited them to help with production on Thriller.

My obsession aside, it got a little weird there for a while. I was hearing "Africa" on the radio way more than I had ever remembered hearing it before. This reached a head when I took a vacation to Jamaica. In all the cabs we took around the island, the radio played dancehall and reggae music almost exclusively. But then, in the midst of all this Jamaican music, while riding in the back seat of a cab to Treasure Beach watching the sunset, the only American song I've heard all week starts playing - "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaa..." Who knew that Jamaica loves Toto? I was amused, if not a bit spooked.

So the vacation ends, and I take my plane home to Boston. Plane lands, I walk to baggage claim, wait for my luggage. Amidst the terminal echoes and P.A. announcements, the carousel turns, my bags round the corner, and the ceiling speakers go "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaa..." What the fuck?!!

It must be noted that this is one of the few songs that I can listen to hundreds of times, and it simply does not get old. All my weird run-ins with "Africa" have made my day a little better, resulting in happy sing-alongs.

And so I was super-psyched to stumble across this version yesterday by a Slovenian acapella group. This is awesome and must be watched, even if you don't like acapella. It's fairly ridiculous, as they take themselves a little too seriously, but check out their take on the synthesizer solo at 4:43. Love it!