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Toto, IV

Toto IV: Breaking Stereotypes, Building Friendships

"Why so serious?" "Why so quiet?" These were questions I was asked constantly in my younger years, and that became a staple every time I entered a new group. A memorable moment came when the sister of a girl I was courting who was in my high school class hesitantly approached me, confessing, "I am afraid to talk to you; you always seem mad." It was hard to hear that. Though I didn't feel that way, I realized I was unintentionally projecting a bad mood. Deep down, I was a ball of fire with a love for music, a craving for experiences, and a head full of ideas. Perhaps I was just afraid of judgment, and maturity has helped me deal with this; stop judging myself while not reserving my opinion for fear of getting judged. 

This was not the exception when I started college, and on top of that, a few close friends from high school joined me in college, which meant that we felt comfortable with each other and remained somewhat close to building new friendships. This situation was exacerbated because we came from Satelite, a suburb in the north of Mexico City that seemed like a different city for those living in more centric places like Insurgentes or the south. But little by little, things started to change, and it is gratifying to see that over 30 years after graduation, many of the “sureños” (southerners) can still be considered good friends with whom I share cherished memories. 

Reflecting on those days, we discovered our true selves. This became clear in our last semester when one of my classmates, Veronica, decided to coin nicknames based on our personalities shown during our five years together. She dubbed me "The Lion" because, as they put it, "The Lion is not as painted." This Mexican expression captures the essence of revealing a person or situation far less fearsome or unpleasant than initially thought. She seemed to realize that behind the serious exterior was a roaring spirit ready to break free!

This week’s post happens to be written by my dear friend Veronica, who, despite being a “Fresa,” a term we used to describe those deemed to listen to fashionable pop music and dress conservatively, learned to appreciate music, maybe influenced by “the Satelucos.” 

She chose to write about Toto IV, the fourth studio album by the American rock band Toto, released in 1982. The album is widely regarded as Toto's most successful work and a classic in the rock genre. It features a diverse range of musical styles, blending rock, pop, and progressive elements.

The album includes some of Toto's most iconic hits, such as "Africa," "Rosanna," and "I Won't Hold You Back." "Africa" became especially renowned for its distinctive sound, including a prominent use of synthesizers and a catchy chorus. "Toto IV" received critical acclaim and won several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. The album's production quality is often praised, contributing to its lasting popularity. Beyond its commercial success, "Toto IV" has endured as a symbol of 1980s rock excellence. Its influence extends beyond the era, with the album's tracks remaining popular and recognizable in contemporary pop culture.

This music served as a bridge between “rockers,” who were open to softer rock music, and “fresas,” who realized rock music had much more to offer than Mexican pop “sensations.”

Below is Vero’s entry. Thank you, friend!


In the 1980s, I attended a very traditional, or as we say in Mexico, “Fresa,” Catholic girls-only secondary school.

It was that time when, at the end of every school day, boys would park outside the school with their super loud music playing, driving cars with upgraded stereos with equalizers, extra speakers, and windows wound down for extra effect. These boys were there to pick up their girlfriends, looking cool in perfectly ironed pink shirts (yes, that was the fashion then!). Now that I think about it, it was like watching a male peacock fan out their iridescent tails to catch the female peacock's attention. Anyway, it was fun to see from the third floor of the school building… if the nuns were not around.

A wide variety of music was going, from INXS, Police, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Madonna and Toto to Twisted Sister. 

In 1987, I started university. Architecture was a very tough subject. On many occasions, we had to work all night, apart from Don Moi, who would appear in the morning perfectly groomed and rested; we were told he went to bed way before midnight, unlike most of us! 

It was hard work, but I remember the weekends were fun; In Uni, I found those “fresa” male versions of myself who would enjoy Starship, George Michel, Janet Jackson and, of course, Rock in Spanish…so the weekends were full of parties which we attended to listen and dance to the music we liked.

So, the anti-Fresa” style of males was so different in my eyes! They all seemed to live in Satelite (An area in a state right next to Mexico City), so they would travel together; most of them liked similar music, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath… they wore t-shirts (not perfectly ironed shirts). I used to hear that their parties would have live bands playing rock music, one or two drinks, and plenty of smoking!

These guys were quite cool and excellent students; I was lucky enough to become friends with Don Moi, who was then called differently, but that's another story! 

Anyway, I started listening to their music and was properly introduced to Toto IV. What a revelation. I loved it, and funny enough, many years later, while living in Cancun and working for a company providing electricity to significant events, I was assigned to one of these projects, which turned out to be a Toto concert and was doubly rewarded by free tickets to see them.

These days, I still enjoy TOTO IV, full volume, when I am home alone. Also, AC/DC, Stereophonics, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, … so I’m glad I grew to like the anti “fresa” guys’ music back in University, as I am now married to an English version!



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