By Patricia Ressell-Deras
Baby Montero has arrived! Lil Nas X’s debut album “Montero” contains 15 tracks, including 11 never-before-released songs along with his three most recent singles.
For anyone who does not keep up with celebrities, social media, music, news – basically you live under a rock – Lil Nas X is a 22-year-old Georgia-based popstar rapper/rapping popstar. He made his first appearance in the spotlight with the 2018 hit single “Old Town Road.”
From 2018 until now, Lil Nas X has consistently released multiple platinum hit singles and even an EP. On Sept. 18, Lil Nas X released his first album “Montero.”
Along with releasing the album, Lil Nas X also dropped music videos for all 11 new songs at the same time. The music videos contain religious themes, cyber/futuristic elements, even a “Brokeback Mountain” reference, among other symbolisms.
And we don’t have time to unpack all that.
Instead, we will only focus on the album itself.
The album starts off with the ‘cultural reset,’ “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” This song was originally released as a single on Mar. 26. Lil Nas X discussed the official meanings behind the lyrics of this song, along with “Industry Baby” and “Sun Goes Down,” in YouTube interviews with Genius, a digital media company that allows artists and users to break down and interpret lyrics.
As for the rest of “Montero,” Lil Nas X discusses relationships, self-doubt, success and his vulnerability on this album. This kind of vulnerability from him is unexpected, but not unwelcome. Lil Nas X tackles topics such as suicide, his dysfunctional family, haters and his sexuality, amongst other topics.
Lil Nas X opens up about his history with depression and suicidal thoughts in the songs “Tales of Dominica,” “Void,” and “Sun Goes Down.” In “Tales of Dominica” Lil Nas X says, “Sometimes you’re hurting/Sometimes you’re all alone,” referencing his depression in the past.
“I feel like I’ve hit a low/One I’ve never hit before/Lately, I’ve been feeling small as the salt in the sea” and “I find it hard to get/Way too hard to live,” Lil Nas X says in “Void.” In this song, he is once again mentioning how his depression and suicidal thoughts have influenced him to view life in a negative light.
Lil Nas X’s self-doubt is expanded on in the song “One of Me.” In it Lil Nas X says, “If you drop a song, n—, we won’t give a f—, no” and “I don’t see you lasting long and that’s just me being honest/Even if your album okay, it’s floppin’, that’s a promise, oh.”
In these lyrics, Lil Nas X is self-criticizing and potentially repeating what others have told him. The listener is put in the position of Lil Nas X and has to listen to these negative comments, evoking sympathy on behalf of the listener for Lil Nas X as well as understanding of him and his background.
Lil Nas X experiments with different sounds on “Montero.” For instance, in “Life After Salem” there are more rock influences and undertones, whereas there is a heavier emphasis on (non-rapping) vocals in “Void” and “Am I Dreaming.”
Altogether, this album has the potential to win multiple awards at the 2022 Grammys and I would not be surprised if “Montero” wins Album of the Year. In fact, it will be a crime if it doesn’t.
To all the baby Monteros out there, this album’s for you. To all the self-doubters out there, this album’s for you. To all the Gen Zer’s, this album’s for you. To those who are lonely, dealing with heartbreak, or just need an experience, this album’s for you. If you disagree with me, go listen to the album and see for yourself.
[In response to Lil Nas X, my list goes: 1. “Industry Baby;” 2. “One of Me;” 3. “Am I Dreaming;” 4. “Don’t Want It;” 5. “Dolla Sign Slime;” 6. “Dead Right Now; 7. “Montero (CMBYN);” 8. “Tales of Dominica;” 9. “Sun Goes Down;” 10. “That’s What I Want;” 11. “Scoop;” 12. “Lost in the Citadel;” 13. “Void;” 14. “Life After Salem;”]