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Review: Lil Nas X’s “MONTERO” - More Than Just Music

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

By Hannah Hoeffner | November 11, 2021

If you haven’t heard of Lil Nas X, surely you have heard his hit single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” With mixed reviews, fans and disturbed parents have raised their concerns that the music video is worshipping the Devil. The rapper can be seen descending to Hell on a pole and giving Satan a lap dance in the video. Some viewers have said they are disappointed and the video was inappropriate. Other fans viewed it as iconic and saw it as an opportunity for queer representation in media. Lil Nas X released his album “MONTERO” on Sept. 17, kick-starting with the song that made him such a hot topic.

With 15 songs and only 41 minutes long, the album is named after Lil Nas X’s real name, Montero, where we get to meet who he is and how he feels. You can tell he poured his soul into these songs, and it does not go unaccounted for. The album contains “feel good” songs, but also ones that put you in your “feels.”

The “Feel Good” Songs (the ones that will have you dancing in your seat):

“Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” - Despite the controversy, the song is great. It’s catchy and represents Lil Nas X’s carefree side.

“Industry Baby” ft. Jack Harlow - The song leaves you feeling empowered. Jack Harlow’s part is well versed, the vocal rhythm and phrasing are perfectly written, and each lyric flows well into the next one. I was worried Harlow’s and Lil Nas X’s sound would not work well together, but I am happy to admit I was wrong. I would argue that this song is better than “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” It’s unforgettable and one that many people will find themselves putting on repeat. Like Lil Nas X has said, “This one is for the champions.”

“Scoop” ft. Doja Cat - This is the one I find myself humming to alot. I had high expectations because it features Doja Cat. She is one of the more well-known artists out there, and many of my favorite songs are by her. Although I think her voice is amazing, I’m not so sure if I liked her part in the song. Either way, he’s just “tryna be the daily scoop.”

“Dolla Sign Slime” ft. Megan Thee Stallion - Although this song is ranked towards the bottom for me, I will say that Stallion was the perfect person to feature in this song. Her part is catchy and fits her persona. Her verse was well incorporated, and it brought the song together. Her tone changes the song’s vibe and brings this feeling of wanting to memorize the lyrics and belt it out.

“That’s What I Want” - The song’s rhythm is memorable, and the lyrics are relatable. “I want / Someone to love me / I need / Someone who needs me.”I think that is the most important thing: to connect with your fans.

The Sad Songs:

“One of Me” ft. Elton John - I will admit, I was disappointed when I didn’t hear Elton’s voice appear in the song. He is incorporated into the piano playing, one that fits in beautifully with the song’s tune. The song is one of the sadder ones, I would argue. It seems he’s trying to find someone who is like him. For example, “Say you one of me / Say you need validation.” All of us can be insecure at times, even celebrities. They’re human just like us, and they seek the same validation that we need sometimes. It’s a touching song, and I appreciate the realness in it.

“Tales of Dominica” - “Hope my little bit of hope don’t fade away.” I found myself sympathizing with him. He talks about his experiences in a broken home and how it has impacted him to this day. He explains in the song that he is “finally grown,” but it’s nothing that he thought it would be. Life has a way of not going the way we want it to, and Lil Nas X wrote a song that I think most of us can find applying to ourselves.

“Sun Goes Down” - This one may be the most saddening of them all. “Send me a gun / And I’ll see the sun.” The song is emotional and provides a powerful message. It sends a positive message to keep going, and I think anyone who listens to the song will find themselves in reflection. It’s heartbreaking yet inspiring. There’s “Much more to life than dying / Over your past mistakes.”

“Void” - Arguably the second saddest song on the album, “I’m getting tired of the way I’ve been living / I’d rather die than to live with these feelings.” It’s a moving song and a tear-jerker as well. He explains how he feels so small and that there is so much to prove in this world. The song is well written, and I would highly recommend it to give you some perspective.

My Favorites:

I will say it was very hard picking my top two songs. The album is a masterpiece, and I think Lil Nas X has opened up so much in this album that it would be unfair to pick one. All the songs are beautifully written, and the meaning strikes a chord deep within all of us.

“Am I Dreaming” ft. Miley Cyrus - I was especially excited to hear this song because one of my favorite artists happens to be Miley Cyrus. Their voices match well, and both of them have had their fair share of being the talk of the press. They talk about how they’re sinking but how they still have to smile. They feel like they’re fading. “Oh, never forget me / And everything I’ve done.” It’s another tear-jerker and one that I’ve found hits my core.

“Life After Salem” - I feel this song stuck out the most. The tune is different from the rest of the tracks and exhibits this side that’s saying, “Take what you want and leave / What you want from me.” The song almost sounds dreary. It has this thrill factor, but that’s what makes it more exciting. It’s something different. I love it.

After listening to the album, I found myself wanting more. He is open and honest in this album, and there’s a deeper, more personal level to it. He talks of his struggles with suicide, and I admire how passionate he is about his career. It is a different side of him and refreshing to see an artist write and sing about it. This is an emotional yet thrilling album, and I think everyone should listen to it. Lil Nas X is an artistic genius, and there is a song on here for anyone, no matter what the feeling.


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