Steve Lukather’s apex at songwriting

Steve Lukather
All’s Well That Ends Well
Mascot Records (M 7308 2)
Grade: ****

By Michael Popke

Casual fans tend to dismiss Toto as lightweight has-beens, overlooking the veteran band’s musical chops. Consequently, guitarist and dusky vocalist Steve Lukather has flown under the radar for years. That’s a shame, because on “All’s Well That Ends Well,” the man’s sixth album, his writing and playing reach new levels.

Brooding tracks such as “Darkness in My World” and “Can’t Look Back” reflect Lukather’s bad year, one filled with divorce and death. But, just as with his Toto material, uplifting melodies triumph over the gloom. He excels at conveying his emotions, and listeners can almost feel his pain as he sings “There’s a hole in my heart/As my life rips apart” in “Don’t Say It’s Over” — the best Toto ballad Toto never recorded.

Lukather also provides a little levity with “Flash in the Pan” and “Brody’s,” two upbeat rockers that make mocking references to Tiger Woods, Glenn Beck, and the Hiltons, Paris and Perez.

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