Tori Sturges
Staff Writer

Lil Nas X released his debut album, MONTERO, on Sept. 17, 2021, two years after his record-breaking hit “Old Town Road,” which put him on the map, despite many claims that he’s a one-hit-wonder. The album, inspired by his birth name, Montero Lamar Hill, features music icons such as Doja Cat, Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, Elton John, and Jack Harlow. Prior to the album’s release, X already had hit singles, like, “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name),” “INDUSTRY BABY” featuring Jack Harlow, “SUN GOES DOWN,” and “THAT’S WHAT I WANT.” With cover art that is reminiscent of a renaissance painting, it’s no wonder I consider this album to be a masterpiece. Promotion for this album was featured on X’s TikTok, where he would pose with a fake baby bump with Montero’s ‘due date.’ Not only is this a way to capture people’s attention, but is obviously a nod to how he sees this album as his baby. It is also important to note that he is challenging gender norms by expressing himself fully as a Black, queer, and male individual. More promotion is featured on his Youtube Channel, where he throws himself a baby shower to which no one shows up — but, instead, presents from artists he is collaborating with on the album. 

Out of all the songs on the album, the most powerful, and my personal favorite, is “DEAD RIGHT NOW.”  This track is extremely dynamic, as it discusses his battle with suicidal thoughts and his rise to fame. The most impactful part of the song would have to be the end of the second verse, which depicts how the people in his life did not check on him when he was struggling with suicidal thoughts. They only paid attention to X after he gained fame and fortune — arguably the only valuable currency in this society. I really admire how X raises awareness about this topic, and it is a great track to follow the title track song while introducing the main theme of the album: expressing his sexuality.

Another staple track off the album is “ONE OF ME.” In particular, this song dives into X disproving the public that he would be a one-hit-wonder. “Old Town Road” was record-breaking, as it led the Billboard Hot 100. Prior to the release of the album, the debut single was already a leader of the charts as well. Skeptics that thought he was not meant to last in this industry were already disproved by this. This song is filled with the many criticisms he has received from the public, such as claims that he is just a “meme,” a “joke,” and a “gimmick.” By using this song as a way to take back the power of all of his doubters, he showcases that he will not let anyone or anything prevent him from continuing to break records and break the glass ceiling as a queer, Black artist.

As much as I love both X and Doja Cat, my least favorite song off of the album is their collaboration, “SCOOP.” When I saw that they were collaborating, I was expecting another big hit. The song isn’t horrible, but it just isn’t as catchy as their solo songs, like “Get Into It (Yuh)” and “MONTERO (Call Me by Your Name).”  On my first listen of those particular songs, I instantly knew they were going to go viral on TikTok.

Overall, this album is going to be a staple in pop music this year, and I can definitely foresee it winning multiple big-ticket awards. I plan on continuing to listen to this album and add it to my go-to Spotify playlists. I am also looking forward to seeing performances of songs off of this album, as I was very impressed with his VMA performance, and I expect him to have increasingly dynamic performances as more songs off of the album turn into singles and get the recognition they deserve. My personal favorite songs are “DEAD RIGHT NOW,” “AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus),” and “THAT’S WHAT I WANT.” I would recommend listening to “DOLLA SIGN SIME (feat. Megan Thee Stallion),” “LIFE AFTER SALEM,” and “VOID.” Some of the songs that I might need to listen to a few more times to genuinely appreciate are “SCOOP (feat. Doja Cat)” and “LOST IN THE CITADEL.” Taking all of the songs into consideration, I would rate this song an 8/10 because of how dynamic all of the songs are, the A-List collaborations, and how easily I can listen to the album over and over again.

Featured Photo Courtesy of LIL NAS X/YOUTUBE.

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In collaboration by Quaker Campus staff members.

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