The glorious birth of ‘Montero’
Anna Falk | Friday, October 1, 2021
After months-long controversies and several record-breaking singles, Lil Nas X’s debut LP “Montero” was finally released on Sept. 17. Despite having built his career on internet fame and gimmicky bops, this album differs wildly in its content and shows listeners a more vulnerable and real side to the artist.
Lil Nas X’s first hit single was “Old Town Road,” a song that topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts for 19 consecutive weeks. Before “Montero,” he also released an EP titled “7 EP” and a single titled “Holiday.” He later ended a brief hiatus with the release of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” the first single from this new LP. An accompanying controversial music video followed, cementing Lil Nas X’s rise into the mainstream.
To put it into simple terms, “Montero” and all of its trappings astounded me. There is so much to applaud on this album; from the guest features to the genre-bending sound, the 22-year-old outdoes himself in more ways than one. Beginning with several dance-worthy songs, Lil Nas X demonstrates a fantastic ability to connect with his audience and improve upon his previous work. He then takes listeners through a journey of emotions and themes discussing important and relatable subjects.
Some of the main themes that permeate throughout “Montero” are fame, love and identity. As a young, Black, queer artist in an industry known for being homophobic, he approaches these subjects with authenticity. Several songs note the people who did not believe he could succeed and those who wish to prey on his fame. In tracks like “Industry Baby” and “Dolla Sign Slime,” Nas flaunts his winnings and bashes his haters. Others are more emotionally-charged and face the reality of relationships (both familial and romantic) now that he is a celebrity.
This album continues to do well as time passes, and it’s very clear why. As I said before, Nas displays an impeccable ability to relate his experiences as an underrepresented figure in the music industry. To put it simply, there are not many people in the industry who do what he does. So few albums from BIPOC queer artists make it into the mainstream, and he acknowledges in his music how his identity can be isolating. The sounds of “Montero” boast of Nas’ newfound fame, but also heave at the weight of his loneliness and longing for true connections.
Another important topic discussed in this album is mental health. For young queer teens and adults, this remains especially important and needed in the mainstream. “Sun Goes Down” and “Void,” two of the slower tracks, reflect on Nas’ past realities. As a young kid who struggled to make sense of himself, he failed to come to terms with his identity. Things may have gotten better, but his younger self grappled with finding hope. He still faces issues in a position of fame, but knows he is on the journey to greatness.
I have been following his presence on social media for a while, but this album is what truly made me a believer in his work. This LP shows a drastic and noticeable difference in lyrical and sound quality. There is truly something in this album that every listener can enjoy and sympathize with. His career holds much promise, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for his fans.
Artist: Lil Nas X
Label: Columbia Records
Favorite tracks: “Industry Baby (feat. Jack Harlow),” “That’s What I Want,” “Lost in the Citadel”
If you like: Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Frank Ocean
Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5