Little Things

Little Things

5.0 16
by Toby Lightman

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It's fortunate that Toby Lightman's vocals are so strong, since it's all that she can do to be heard over the electronic burble of her debut LP, Little Things (Lava/Atlantic). Peter Zizzo's production is furiously contemporary, with programmed percussion, intermittent string sections, shrill electric guitar, and layered vocal…  See more details below


It's fortunate that Toby Lightman's vocals are so strong, since it's all that she can do to be heard over the electronic burble of her debut LP, Little Things (Lava/Atlantic). Peter Zizzo's production is furiously contemporary, with programmed percussion, intermittent string sections, shrill electric guitar, and layered vocal collages (of both Lightman's own voice and supporting harmonies) often choking the subtle acoustic chords that run throughout the record. About the only thing missing from the shallow bag of studio tricks is "Robo Toby," the processed vocal effect made infamous by the Matrix. Luckily, the young singer really does have a huge voice. Comparisons to Nelly Furtado and Lauryn Hill are valid; Lightman's phrasing is perfect and her singing's throaty and sassy, even if her lyrics are the usual mix of aw snap empowerment, romantic woe, and dear diary soul-searching. She's mature and confident over the light contemporary R&B of "Leave It Inside" -- is that a Mary J. Blige influence? -- and the processed poptronica of "The River" gives her some strong material as well. But Lightman's vitality really shines through in "Everyday," which finally, mercifully strips away the accompanying instrumentation to a simple and refreshing acoustic guitar line. The song suggests what Lightman might've sounded like before her tunes were shoehorned into the blatant and unimaginative MOR arrangements that clutter Little Things. They have pop hooks, sure, and the busy, ingratiating "Devils and Angels" or "Frightened"'s tasteful Dido-isms should appeal to casual listeners content with a pretty melody and a comfortably non-threatening smattering of not quite here, not quite there instrumentation. But Little Things' strict adherence to the now sound -- as in what is destined to be so yesterday -- doesn't give Lightman a fair chance at building an identity.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Toby Lightman   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
David Mann   Saxophone
Nile Rodgers   Electric Guitar
Tom Barney   Bass,Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Bashiri Johnson   Percussion
Joe Bonadio   Percussion
Jesse Levy   Cello
Rob Mathes   Conductor
Ozzie Melendez   Trombone
Sandra Park   Violin
Leon Pendarvis   Conductor
Andy Snitzer   Saxophone
Gerry Leonard   Electric Guitar
Peter Zizzo   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,tiple,Synthesizer Bass,Synthesizer Piano,Pianette
William Gallison   Harmonica
Jen Scaturro   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Rob Mounsey   String Arrangements
Matt Brown   Engineer
Chris Gehringer   Mastering
Rob Mathes   Horn Arrangements
Leon Pendarvis   String Arrangements
Lynn Kowalewski   Art Direction
Femio Hernández   Engineer
Peter Zizzo   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Digital Editing,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming
Ariel Martin   Management
Ming + FS   Songwriter,Composer,beats
FS   beats
Jen Scaturro   Programming,Digital Editing
Aaron Albano   Composer
Toby Lightman   Composer,Executive Producer,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming

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Little Things 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a rare treat to put on a CD and enjoy it from beginning to end on the first listen. I was fortunate enough to attend a live showcase of Toby Lightman in January and she knocked my sock off. So much power, range and soul in a relatively compact package. And what pipes. If you like any of the artists I listed above, I strongly enocurage you to give Lightman a listen. You will be immediately hooked. The album is a rare instance of great song selection (she writes or co-writes her own sutff) and amazing production. I remember the first time I listened to Nora Jones, I thought that there was an amazing consistency and coherence to the album. While Lightman's album is definitely edgier than, say, a Nora Jones, the same conherence is there. This is the kind of album you can leave on in the car or home and just listen over and over. While there are some standout tracks with major "hit" potential (Devils & Angels, The River...I also like Front Row), there are no weak links on the record. It all flows together so nicely. What a fantastic debut for the artist, and big credit to the producer (Peter Zizzo, who google tells me discovered Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton...this guy is on a hot streak!). P.S. If Lightman is in your area, go see her live; it is a phenomenal show.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is head and shoulders above other female solo artists. It's superior to anything else I've heard lately. There is no shortage of smart strong guitar playing solo female artists out there, but Toby Lightman is in a category all her own. Ever since I bought this album, it hasn't left my CD player. The melodies and lyrics are interesting and diverse. I highly recommend this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a world where good music is finally picking up with the cool sounds of acoustic guitars and talented voices, it is still dominated by males, such as Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Howie Day, etc. But Toby has this rockin' voice that is more than just pink flowers and butterflies. The first time I heard her, I knew I was in love, and I can't lie, there's nothing quite like a gal with actual talent to liven up the music industry. Check it out, and as cheesy and orthodox as it sounds to say, I promise you won't be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If your down with a cross between sheryl crow and a little folk tunes this girl is right for you songs like the river and front row stand out and are sure to be her next hits.... I live in the philly region and have already heard her playing on 4 different stations and people call asking who is this girl and how do i get her cd.. If theres any cd your buying this year this should be it.......
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've had the pleasure of seeing Toby Lightman live twice and she is the real deal. She writes her own songs which should be critical for any music enthuasist and her voice and range are nothing short of amazing. She offers a little bit of everything here, pop/rock/r& can't pin her down to a label and that's the best thing about her. You won't regret picking this up for your music collection and check her out when she is in your area!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an album that everyone should own a copy of. Toby's talent as vocalist, guitarist, and song writer shines through beautifully. I think there is a song for everyone to relate to on this album. Songs about love, broken hearts, friends,and self appreciation. A powerful album that would be great in anyones collection!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate to obtain a pre-release, and I was stunned by this new artist. I shared the CD with my workmates, and Toby has quite a few new fans here in Southern California. I look forward to some local tour dates, and I sincerely wish her the very best of luck in a very fickle busines. Go Toby!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
That voice is just so soothing. I am truly enjoying this CD, especially when I am cruising in my car. When I heard her performing on Jay Leno, I immediately went to buy the CD. Great, just fabulous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to catch Toby's show down south and she was absolutely amazing! You must catch her live because she sounds even better in person! The CD is a great collection of songs that talk about what we all feel. My favorite tune is Frightened. That song really shows Toby's vocal range and she plays the violin as well!! Definitely a must get!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has some of the best music I've heard in a long time. Very refreshing, awesome vocals, and the music is just as good. Buy this album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoy this cd. It is very smooth and gratifying to listen to. She is a very amazing artist with definite talent. Lyrics are great. Music is strong. she feels like a mix of melissa ethridge and norah jones. Wonderful composition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was cruising I-Tunes on my Mac and was really excited when I heard some of the clips. I immediately bought the album and it is one of the staples in my CD player in my car! Her voice is so strong. It's refreshing to hear someone bust out of the 'norm.' I would describe her as Alannis Morrisette meets the late Eva Cassidy...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Toby Lightman is the first female voice to come along in a long time that displays true musical talent. The lyrics she puts together in her songs tell a story - make you think about what you're hearing. They range in topics from the laid back "Running Away" to the powerful "The River" (my favorite on the album) and songs like "Front Row" about her interaction with a (fictional) audience member "Don't Wanna Know" which is alomst the opposite point of view - from the fan's perspective of thier idol. Of course these are just my takes on the songs, and that's what makes them so great, you really sit and think about what they mean and figure out different scenarios. And best yet, you can actually understand what she's saying. She is completely original. I don't understand much of the comparisons that have been made in her style. I would agree she is in the same genre as many of the other artists she has been compared to, but her style is totally unique. The album shows such versatility, so many different techniques. For a first album it is very polished - the video for "Devils and Angels" was first rate. But even better is hearing her live - just her and her guitarist Eddy if you're lucky. Their acoustic dueling together is amazing. In fact, I'd love it if she made an acoustic remake of the album. I would recommend this album to everyone (in fact I do). A true original talent. I certainly hope she survives a business full of gushy pop and gritty grunge.