“Montero” is a sonic masterpiece

Rising to fame through controversy, Lil Nas X backs up his bluff with a jaw-dropping album.

Emily Coffey, Arts and Entertainment Editor

In 2019, Montero Lamar Hill, also known as Lil Nas X, rose to musical stardom with the single “Old Town Road” recorded with Billy Ray Cyrus. Though dubbed a one hit wonder, he overturned genre standards by coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community, his lyrics often celebrating his sexuality while also rocking the charts. 

Self-titled “Montero” is undeniably catchy, masterfully produced and written, leaving nothing to be desired for creativity and voice. 

PROMISCUOUS PROMOTION

According to Rolling Stone, Hill got his start on Twitter and Facebook back in 2013. It is probably this internet savvy he developed at a young age, as he is only 22 years old, that allowed him to promote his music masterfully. 

His last music video stirred a considerable amount of controversy, especially among conservatives, garnering over 350 million views. Aligning with the controversial themes of his music video, Hill released a pair of shoes dubbed “Satan Shoes”—allegedly containing a drop of human blood in the sole. As any internet star knows, controversy has the potential to kickstart a budding career. It is a wave that, if ridden well, can push anyone to stardom if it does not overshadow the legitimacy of their work. 

The promotion for the latest piece also crossed gender lines. Taking nine months to write and produce, Hill christened it his “baby,” going as far as doing a pregnancy photo shoot and video tease that included a baby shower. Last night, he tweeted “Baby Montero is here!” with a video of him being wheeled into a hospital room, ready to deliver it. 

Is it absolutely outrageous? Yes. But, that seems to be the point. 

“MONTERO” 

From start to finish, “Montero” is a tapestry of musical genius—including flamenco guitar, orchestral moments, rolling, engrossing song structure and features that add to Hill’s original, refreshing voice. 

While it is certain to tickle the ears of any basic pop lover, the album also includes hip-hop and rock elements. “VOID” is especially excellent, the simplicity adding to the stunningly honest lyrics. 

“Stuck in this world where there’s so much to prove/ Every win gives you more room to lose,” Hill sings in verse two. 

LIFE AFTER SALEM” is gritty and angry. Dissonant guitar and a slowly building drumline combine to form the least interesting song on the album. Though it provides a new take on Hill’s artistic voice, it does not make sense given the greater context of the album where ballads like “VOID” and “AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus),” allow sadness to take center stage.  

TALES OF DOMINICA” makes up for what “LIFE AFTER SALEM” lost. Beginning with flamenco guitar, the song shapes into a catchy hit. It discusses his past and how it informs his future—his quick rise to fame, it seems, isolates the artist from any community. Contrasting his past and his present, it becomes clear that Hill is just a man—eccentric and highly performative—but still worth listening to. 

 

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