Review of MONTERO the album by Lil Nas X


Via Columbia Records

Jordan Boje, Senior Staff Writer

Over the past 2 years, Montero Hill has become one of the biggest pop stars in the music industry. Professionally known as Lil Nas X, Hill has had one of the fastest rises to stardom. 

After releasing his hit single “Old Town Road” in 2019, Hill has continued to release multiple singles and remixes to his songs. On September 17th, 2021, Lil Nas X released his long-awaited debut album, MONTERO.

With lead singles including MONTERO (Call me by your name), SUN GOES DOWN, and INDUSTRY BABY produced by Kanye West and Take a Daytrip, the 22-year-old’s freshman album has had a lot of hype leading up to its release.

The 14 track album includes features from Jack Harlow, Doja Cat, Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, and Miley Cyrus.

MONTERO is an album focused on fame, riches, and the hardships and backlash Hill has gone through since his music career has fully taken off.

The first half of the album is almost an anthem of success for Lil Nas X. The first 3 songs on the album, MONTERO (Call me by your name), DEAD RIGHT NOW, and INDUSTRY BABY, are all high-energy tracks that talk about his fame, success, and achievements in the music industry.

It is no surprise that this album did well on the Billboard top 100 charts. MONTERO and INDUSTRY BABY are catchy songs that get stuck in your head all day. The lyrics “call me by your name” and “baby back, aye, couple racks, aye.” are ingrained in people’s heads 24/7.

As the album nears its middle, Lil Nas X makes hit after hit and packs the songs heavy with features from well-known artists. The tracks THATS WHAT I WANT, SCOOP (feat. Doja Cat), and ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John) are all really solid songs when it comes to the hip hop genre.

Although Elton John doesn’t sing on the track, it is made up for by Doja Cat’s rhythm and her ability to glide on the beat.

As the album nears the end, Lil Nas X does a 180-degree turn. The songs become slower, sadder, and have deep impactful meanings within their lyrics. 

Songs like LOST IN THE CITADEL, SUN GOES DOWN, and VOID are all songs that change your perspective on Lil Nas X and make you realize that the personal struggles and battles he has faced along his way to stardom still make him human.

My favorite song from the album is TALES OF DOMINICA. Hill effortlessly rides the beat with his vocals and displays his talent by using his vocals as one of the main instruments. The track has a mysterious sound to it as it has an almost ominous beat along with Lil Nas X’s vocals.

The album ends with one of the most beautiful songs on the album, AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus). The duet the two artists make and the overlap of their voices is almost like you’re dreaming.

The song is a good outro to the album as Lil Nas X and Miley Cyrus talk about the legacy they have left on music, and as Hill’s career has just started, how he does not want to be forgotten.

Two songs that I believe are skips from this album are DOLLA SIGN SLIME (feat. Megan Thee Stallion) and LIFE AFTER SALEM. Lil Nas X has a weak approach on DOLLA SIGN SLIME and Megan Thee Stallion absolutely kills what little sound is left.

Her weak and unversatile lyrics ruin every song they touch, and DOLLA SIGN SLIME is no exception.

LIFE AFTER SALEM is a slow, rock and roll sounding type song. Although I admire Lil Nas‘s versatility from track to track in his career, he should stay far away from the rock and roll sound as his voice simply can’t go as deep as the classic rock and roll sound should be.

One thing Hill has mastered is using his vocals as an instrument. Stacking layers upon layers of different pitched vocals reinforce his regular-sounding voice on the track and adds depth to the background beat.

Overall, the album is solid. For being a long-awaited, hyped up-freshman album, Lil Nas X delivered. With 12/14 songs being good and only two skips, I give MONTERO a light 7 out of 10 on the Jordan Scale of Rating.