Neon Indian, the musical project of Alan Palomo, has released his first Spanish-language single entitled “Toyota Man,” with an accompanying music video which takes aim at Donald Trump. This latest track takes influences from the performer’s psychedelic pop music, with Latin styles such as cumbia mixed into its instrumentation.
“Toyota Man,” is show in various places around Monterrey, the performer’s birthplace. the Nuevo Laredo border, San Antonio, and Austin, which are all regions which played a role in his development. The music video takes place outside a family party and during a car dealership commercial at different points, with shots of Palomo’s Mexican hometown with descriptions of close family members cut in between these videos.
“’Toyota Man’ was filmed along the road map of what essentially was my path to American citizenship: Monterrey, the Nuevo Laredo border, San Antonio, and finally Austin,” Palomo explained in a press statement. “The process is a multiple decade commute known by many Latinos and other Americans. Though my music has always been generally apolitical, I realized when recording this song that it was impossible to write biographically (in the rhetorical context of the Trump administration) without being entirely that: political.”
The music video also shows a Trump piñata coming to life, before eventually being smashed and run over toward the end of the video, although its eye turns red indicating it may still be alive. A small interlude in the song details the exploitation of immigrant labor, with a line stating “The way to build an economy with a disposable work force is to invite them over and then kick them out when the work is done! That way they can’t unionize.” The song’s chorus roughly translates to “We came here to study, we want to work,” in reference to immigrant laborers and DACA students.
As Palomo elaborated:
“The story of my family, which before felt commonly American, was suddenly politicized. Recognizing the absurdity of it all, I thought it would be refreshing to address the social narrative around immigration through comedy – nods to Benny Hill, misremembered San Antonio car commercials, and School House Rock. My family and I had a ton of fun making this and I hope it’s equally as fun to watch. Enjoy!”
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat