Lil Nas X - “MONTERO” Album Review
Atlanta rapper, singer, and songwriter, Lil Nas X makes his major-label debut with “MONTERO.”
The album is named after himself, as his legal name is Montero Lamar Hill. New material has been a long time coming for Nas X fans, as he only had an EP released previously, and seemingly endless remixes for his debut single “Old Town Road.”
“MONTERO” allows Lil Nas X to finally break away from being “The Old Town Road Guy,” and grow into his own.
With 15 tracks that are a total of 41 minutes long, this is the most fleshed-out project listeners have seen yet from Nas X. There is little to no filler on the record, with nearly every track standing out for their own reasons.
“MONTERO” has a clear direction that it utilizes, but there is so much variation at the same time. This keeps the record from being tedious, and instead gives it plenty of replay value.
The beginning of the album features numerous bangers that are guaranteed to be heard on aux for months to come. The record opens with the title track, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)." Controversy aside, the Spanish-influenced guitar and drums along with Nas X’s vocals make for a revealing intro.
“INDUSTRY BABY” is another highlight that is arguably the best song on the album. Nas X teams up with Louisville rapper Jack Harlow, and they both have passionate deliveries that let them both shine. Featuring production from Take a Daytrip and Kanye West, they have created a song that will be heard in stadiums in the country with the brass section.
The production on the record is primarily taken care of by Take a Daytrip, and they never seem to fail with this collaboration. All of their beats are loud, melodic, booming 808s and filled with live instrumentation.
The first half is exceedingly faster than the second. This gives Nas more opportunity to explore his sexuality, relationships with his family and friends and mental health.
He is underestimated as both a vocalist and lyricist. “I need time to get up and get off the floor | I need time to realize that I can't be yours | I need time to give up just like before | I love it how you know I'd only come right back for more,” he sings on “LOST IN THE CITADEL.”
The closer is heart-wrenching as Lil Nas X teams with Miley Cyrus. She surprisingly executes one of her best verses in years and sounds astonishingly well when layered with Nas. “AM I DREAMING” ties the whole record off perfectly, and ironically, it features the daughter of the man who jump-started Lil Nas X’s career.
It is strange that “SUN GOES DOWN” was released as the second single on the record. The lyrics and instrumental seem to directly interpolate a random iann dior song from last year. The track just seems so indistinguishable from not only Lil Nas X’s catalog, but all pop music from the last few years.
“LIFE AFTER SALEM” also does not seem to fit with the rest of the tracks, especially with the very heavy rock-oriented instrumental.
Overall, “MONTERO” is Lil Nas X’s best work to date.
He was consistent throughout nearly all of the tracklist and brought originality to the current state of music. It is safe to say that Lil Nas X is not going anywhere and that expectations have only been exceeded for future releases with this new project.
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “INDUSTRY BABY” “THATS WHAT I WANT” “AM I DREAMING”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “SUN GOES DOWN”
Caelan Chevrier is a second year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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