The Roots of Razor-Pop: Toya’s “I Do”

Posted by: on Dec 17, 2008 | Comments (0)

A footnote to my article this week in the Bohemian about the current rush of razor-pop singles is this largely-forgotten jam, Toya’s “I Do.” It’s singlehandedly responsible for forcing me to give pop radio another chance back in the dark days of 2001; while large-scale productions from the Backstreet Boys and Cher clogged the airwaves, this confection of minimalism hit like a beautiful, breathe-easy dream—just some blips, hi-hats, a bass line, and minor-key harmonies spitting out fresh turn-of-the-century slang. It preceded a lot of the tiny, razor-pop songs you’ll hear on the radio today by Beyoncé and Ciara, and I still fall in love with it every time I hear it.

About that bass line: it doesn’t start on the root note, like most all pop songs. Instead, it hangs on the five, stopping at the minor third before a cursory thud on the root brings it back up to the five again. The song’s entire eerie element of suspense comes from this trick, and it’s one I haven’t heard duplicated since.

Toya was barely 18 when this song was made. She stopped making music shortly afterward, married an NFL quarterback, and had a baby. She lives somewhere in Georgia now. Watch the video below: