Toto definitely became ambitious with this disc, but seems to have come up a bit flat. Part of the issue was controversy over the lead singer role. Why Bobby Kimball departed has never been totally clear, but the import of the capable Fergie Frederiksen didn't seem to enhance or even complement Toto. Having said that, Toto's virtuoso style continues to impress.
The best qualities of this album are its diversity. On one side, songs like "Carmen", "Change of Heart" and "Angel Don't Cry" rock as hard as Toto ever has, and the biggest reason is the style of Frederiksen's vocals. The incredible Steve Lukather can definitely play hard rock, and Jeff Porcaro is equally capable on the drum kit. On the other side, the lush balladry of "How Does It Feel" is as smooth as ever, and the jazzy stylings of "Lion" and "Holyanna" show off David Paich's ample skills and he's well complemented by Lukather again.
Oddly, the first single, "Stranger in Town", is probably the key reason this album was poorly received. The song is completely out of character for Toto, adopting new wave sensibilities and sounding more like a wannabe band than the defending Grammy Album of the Year winners! IMHO, this sent the band backwards from its multi-platinum success of "Toto IV". And with the first single tanking, fans were now wondering why the album seemed all over the place...rather than applauding its diversity of style!
My ultimate take on this album is that Toto was struggling deeply with its identity at this juncture of their career and in terms of public acclaim made them appear to be flashes in the pan. Unfortunate, because those of us who know Toto best know that they're probably the most unappreciated band of the seventies and eighties.