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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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On the beat: “MONTERO” by Lil Nas X

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GRAPHIC: TOM SWEENEY ’22/THE HAWK

When Lil Nas X blended the country and hip hop genres to create the pop hit “Old Town Road,” he dropped a single that was unique and catchy. His release of “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” proved him to be more than a one-hit wonder.

On Sept. 17, Lil Nas X dropped his debut album “MONTERO,” and every song has delivered. From start to finish the lyricism, melodies and production were expertly crafted and put together to create a fantastic listening experience. 

After only two years in the music industry with just a handful of singles, crafting an album has solidified Lil Nas X as not only an artist but a pop culture icon.

There are three singles on the album that had been previously released: “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” “INDUSTRY BABY” and “SUN GOES DOWN.” These songs are all great individually, but they work even better in the context of the album’s themes of identity, fame and perception. “MONTERO” and “INDUSTRY BABY” fit perfectly with the upbeat first half of the album, while “SUN GOES DOWN” helps bring more emotion to the slower second half.

The first new song on the album is “DEAD RIGHT NOW,” a trap-inspired song about Lil Nas X’s rise to fame surrounded by haters. The song is dark and mysterious with a booming 808 bass drum and Lil Nas X’s deep, silky vocals. 

In terms of the features that Lil Nas X chose for this album, they were all excellent and worked well with their respective songs. Doja Cat’s goofy and high-pitched voice fit right in with the light and fun “SCOOP,” whereas Megan Thee Stallion’s killer rap verse paired perfectly with the hard-hitting “DOLLA SIGN SLIME.”

One aspect of the album that surprised me was how personal some of the songs are. Many portray Lil Nas X’s fears and insecurities. “TALES OF DOMINICA” finds Lil Nas X feeling lonely in a dysfunctional relationship, with a quiet plucked acoustic guitar and muddy drums mirroring the disheartened lyrics. 

Accompanied by Elton John, Lil Nas X uses “ONE OF ME” to tell his story of how the industry only cared about profiting from his success, rather than appreciating him as an artist. 

What most surprised me was Miley Cyrus’ feature on the album’s final song, “AM I DREAMING.” It’s hard for me not to associate Miley Cyrus with either Hannah Montana or her more “scandalous” image in recent years. Just as Lil Nas X can no longer be attached solely to “Old Town Road”, Cyrus’ performance on this track is far from what she used to produce. 

Cyrus’ feature was sweet and emotional, fitting perfectly with the dreamy guitar and ethereal strings. In the lyrics, Lil Nas X reflects on his seemingly surreal success and hopes that it lasts, making for a perfect ending to the album. 

A far cry from “Old Town Road,” “MONTERO” perfectly showcases Lil Nas X’s  vocal range, rapping skills and production mastery. It’s a great debut album, revealing exactly what he’s capable of. 

Through this album, Lil Nas X proves that he is not a one-hit wonder, but a talented and versatile artist who deserves respect and praise as one of this decade’s best artists. 

 

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