North Texas Daily

‘Montero’ proves again that Lil Nas X can’t miss

‘Montero’ proves again that Lil Nas X can’t miss

‘Montero’ proves again that Lil Nas X can’t miss
September 23
16:51 2021

Literally what the headline says. Lil Nas X refuses to flop and with the release of his debut studio album, there’s just more proof to that statement.

It’s been a long road for Montero Lamar Hill, now known to the world as Lil Nas X. Just two years ago he was a college dropout in Atlanta running Nicki Minaj stan accounts on Twitter who started making music because he was bored. Now in 2021, Lil Nas X is one of the biggest pop-rap stars in the industry, in part thanks to his now 15x platinum trap-country single, “Old Town Road.”

“Montero” is a straight transition into pop music as Lil Nas X leaves behind his 2019 experimental trap-rap EP “7.” That project received mixed praise from critics as each song felt like a futile attempt to mashup genres to chase the high of “Old Town Road.” But now with “Montero,” Lil Nas X has found his sound and refined it. “Montero” is what “7” tried to be, but actually sticks the landing this time.

With 15 songs and a runtime of 41 minutes, it cannot be understated how superb the rollout for “Montero” has been. A concern going into this album was that the two singles from the album, “Industry Baby” and “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” would have the most effort put into them, and that’s clearly not the case. Most of the songs on the album had leaked months prior, but even then, there was still a solid level of polish from those leaks.

Take a Daytrip deserves all the applause for the production on this album. The horns on the album are thick and triumphant, as the overall production sounds maximalist without being overbearing. For someone who made music because he was bored, Lil Nas X has the voice and ear for music. Speaking on his voice, the mixes and masters perfectly matches Lil Nas X’s voice. Crispy and clear, they make Lil Nas X sound damn near perfect on each track.

Outside of the singles, standouts from this album include “DEAD RIGHT NOW,” “TALES OF DOMINICA,” “SCOOP” and “AM I DREAMING.” Lil Nas X is not afraid to wear his influences on his sleeves. Lil Nas X told Rolling Stone in a 2019 interview that Drake, Kid Cudi and André 300 are among his many influences and it shows. “VOID” absolutely screamed for a Kid Cudi feature and it’s actually surprising that he didn’t make an appearance. Doja Cat makes for a hilarious feature on “SCOOP,”  where her comedic timing excellently balances out the more personal moments on the track. “AM I DREAMING” stands out the most vocally, with the harmonization between Miley Cyrus and Lil Nas X being absolutely ethereal to listen to.

As far as any criticisms from the album go, there isn’t a bad song to find here or any skips for that matter. You could take any single from the track list and it could chart. The features, however, might be the one thing holding back the album. The features themselves don’t get enough time to breathe with each artist taking over the second half of the song and then adding background vocals to close out. “Montero” has amazing features with Doja Cat, Meg and Miley Cyrus all joining the ride, but they aren’t given the time to shine as much as one would like.

Overall, “Montero” is one of the higher quality pop albums you can listen to this year. Each song is catchy, with the mixing and layering feeling like a super carbonated Sprite. Lil Nas X has achieved a very fun album that hits on some really good emotional beats. Some people might be turned off by the pop aspects, but the entirety of the project is extremely well-executed and well produced. With one hell of a debut, Lil Nas X shows some massive potential and it’ll be fascinating to see how his sound will evolve in later projects.

Chance’s final rating: 4/5

Image source Columbia Records

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Chance Townsend

Chance Townsend

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