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Lil Nas X’s debut album called me by my name

Everyone that dismissed Lil Nas X as a one-hit wonder has officially been silenced with the release of his debut album “MONTERO.”

I dread hearing “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus as much as everyone else.  But after he came out publicly in 2019, I grew an immense respect for him. For me, his prominence within both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities outweighed that his music didn’t seem serious at first.

Until recently. 

Between the singles “INDUSTRY BABY,” “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” and “SUN GOES DOWN,” this album had the best promotion and rollout that I can remember.

Lil Nas X literally had a baby bump, a baby shower and gave birth to the album on a livestream.

The 22-year-old has found his voice and solidified his sound. His live performances are more engaging, and he is discovering himself as not just an artist, but an entertainer.

“MONTERO” finally sees his larger-than-life persona carry over into his art.

Lil Nas X’s music videos have never missed. The man is committed to the art of the music video, and his recent win for Video of the Year for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” at the 2021 VMAs is only further proof.

The album is titled after his legal first name and creates a world to embrace his identity; The absolute perfect formula for a debut album.

The “planet” concept album has been a recent trend in pop music. Between Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica” and Doja Cat’s “Planet Her,” everyone just wants to be off this planet.

Lil Nas X has executed the concept the best. I will be buying a boarding pass to Montero at the closest opportunity.

The album is introspective and honest. There are influences of grunge rock and Kanye West (who  has a writing credit on “INDUSTRY BABY”) and surprisingly shows even more of his true self than on social media. 

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Songs like “DEAD RIGHT NOW” and “TALES OF DOMINICA” reveal his inner thoughts about coming out to his family and being in the public eye. These are songs that I needed to hear when I was 15 years old and coming out. 

While I loved the album, parts of it still felt surface-level.

“SCOOP” is definitely a song to play while in the car with your friends, but I expected more from this collaboration than a 23-second verse from Doja Cat.

“ONE OF ME” is a beautiful song where Lil Nas X is candid about the pressures of being forgotten and dismissed as a one-hit wonder. Elton John plays the piano beautifully on the outro of the song, and while he doesn’t sing on the track, there aren’t many artists who can say they had Elton John on their debut album.

“DOLLA SIGN SLIME” with Megan Thee Stallion gave everything it needed to give. Lil Nas X and Meg have given us all an anthem to remind us that we are hot girls to our core. 

It has been on repeat.

“AM I DREAMING” with Miley Cyrus is the best collaboration of the album and the perfect closer. Lil Nas X said on Twitter he is trying to collect all the “Cyrus stones” and I am now anxiously awaiting a collaboration with Noah Cyrus.

The album is a standout debut album from Lil Nas X and shows that he will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Rating: 9/10

@kwiatkdm

kwiatkdm@miamioh.edu 



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