“I wrote ‘2009 TOYOTA’ in Australia with my friend Taka and, not gonna lie, we went into it with no aim other than we wanted to write a song that was just pure vibes,” said Thomas Headon, a London-born singer/songwriter who has risen to fame over the last three years with infectious, energetic alternative pop music, in a statement. “We started playing around with different sounds and random lyrics that don’t mean a lot, but when we put them all together it sounded really cool. I’ve never actually driven a 2009 Toyota, I was eight in 2009! But, my friend Charlie really does live in an apartment with a rooftop, so there is some truth in it.”
Does that sound a bit ridiculous? Sure, but that kind of youthful energy and carefree creativity is the epitome of Headon. He is also the epitome of a Gen-Z artist, describing Ed Sheeran, The 1975, and Twenty-One Pilots as not just influences, but his gateways into music after going to concerts, or gigs, as he calls them, with his sister.
He also cites Tik Tok as his designated place to find new music. An interesting, and somewhat unsettling, method, but one that accurately reflects his age and place within modern pop culture.
Regardless, “2009 TOYOTA” is incredibly catchy despite not being about particularly anything. It contains elements of early Wallows’ California-sounding alt-pop, and even a bit of Rex Orange County in the verses, with the higher pitch-shifting in spots establishing a bit of differentiation from the two: “Spilt soy milk on my brand-new carpet / The carpet that I stole from Target / Talk shit about the housing market… if you bring it up.”
Headon described his song “Georgia” in a similar way to “2009 TOYOTA” in an interview with MILKY, saying, “It’s actually not about anyone called Georgia, it’s about the state of Georgia… in America.” He went with Georgia in place of “Carolina” or “Caroline,” feeling like the former is already an overused title due to songs like “Carolina” by Harry Styles and “Carolina” by Taylor Swift.
Make no mistake though, Headon is no passing fad. His audience, as shown in the video for “Georgia,” is young, invested, and rapturous. “I loved a boy,” released earlier this year, is one of the catchiest and most engaging tunes of the year, and other past releases have found their way into other forms of media as well as on a multitude of notable playlists.