Review: “Montero” a resounding success

Sarayu Suresh, Staff Writer

Internet sensation Lil Nas X most well known for his song “Old Town Road” released his debut album “Montero” on September 17th 2021. It peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. 

Nas is well known for publicity stunts to promote his music. The lead single, “MONTERO (Call me by your name)” sparked outrage over its demonic imagery and explicit nature. He used the backlash to his advantage by trolling people on Twitter. Along with the single, he released “Satan Shoes” with Nike swooshes on them. Nike pressed a copyright lawsuit against him, and he used the lawsuit as the premise for his “Industry Baby” music video. 

“MONTERO,” inspired by the artist’s real name, tackles themes such as homophobia, racism, and the pressures of fame. 

The single choices were impeccable. He managed to choose songs that perfectly encapsulated the album, while still leaving some good non-single tracks. “LOST IN THE CITADEL” features trumpets, drums and a breezy melody, making it a fun and interesting track. 

However, the album starts to drag towards the middle. The themes start getting repetitive, and the beats start blending together. I started to notice this after “VOID” until the ending track. 

In “MONTERO,” Nas explores ideas of fame and the isolation that comes with it. In the song “ONE OF ME,” he discusses the pressures he faced as an artist from music executives to do things a certain way. 

In addition, he discusses the dismissal of  his success as a “one-hit wonder” or gimmick.  While on social media, Nas puts on a tough front and doesn’t seem to be affected by hate and negativity, but on the album, listeners get a more real and vulnerable look at how he deals with that. We see more of his vulnerability in “AM I DREAMING?”, where he sings about his legacy. 

He also explores his struggle with racism, in his single, “SUN GOES DOWN.”  The song is an anthem for kids who grew up feeling insecure in their bodies due to euro-centric beauty standards in America. 

One of the biggest issues is the number of features on the album. A debut album is a chance for an artist to really show who they are and what their music is going to be like, and features take away from that. The Miley Cyrus feature seems very out of place. Her gravelly voice doesn’t flow well with the ballad. The final track of the album was very personal and memorable, and would have done better without Miley on it. 

Overall, this is a promising debut that proves that he has the musical talent to back his persona. I look forward to seeing where he takes his music next. I am looking forward to a possible collaboration with Nicki Minaj after she was referenced in “INDUSTRY BABY.” It would be a fun full circle moment.