Vibrant, whimsical, and simply incredible…

Boasting features from Jack Harlow, Doja Cat, Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, and Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X has not come to play on this album.

Out today, the hugely anticipated Lil Nas X debut studio album ‘MONTERO’ has finally arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Having released the mammoth lead pop single ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ back in March, Lil Nas X has furthered his technicolored visuals, amplified his avant-garde aesthetic, and surpassed any expectations on this amazing album. Introductory ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ is already one of Lil Nas’s biggest hits, from its addictive hook, to the iconic videography toying on the fundamentals of heaven and hell. ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),’ brightly opens the album with huge expectations.

Rap infused follow-up ‘DEAD RIGHT NOW’ is a defiant contrast to the buoyancy of the introduction, and is a a quick glimpse into just how versatile Lil Nas X is as an artist. Having caught everyone’s attention in spring 2019 with ‘Old Town Road,’ Lil Nas X quickly rose to fame. In ‘DEAD RIGHT NOW,’ the artist experiments with hard-hitting trap beats, gospel harmonies, and seductive vocal delivery – a notably addictive track within moments spent listening to it.

Produced by Kanye and featuring words from US rapper Jack Harlow is third track, ‘INDUSTRY BABY.’ Heavily driven by its rhythmic sax playing, potent horn-work and thudding trap beats, ‘INDUSTRY BABY’ is one of the hardest tracks on this album, though and through.

For the past two weeks Lil Nas has continued the parody of his pregnancy with baby ‘MONTERO,’ and today we can finally say congratulations… because this album is insanely good. Which brings me onto why at track six, ‘SCOOP’ is another mammoth single on this album. Including a rap feature from Doja Cat, Lil Nas X is racking up collaborations with some of the hottest industry names right now. ‘SCOOP’ is entirely addictive, far from modest, the artist boastfully celebrates self-growth as he sings: “I’ve been workin’ on my body, you ever seen a n**** hit pilates.” Later followed by “they lookin’ at my wrist, now watch it hit back, my ex hittin’ my phone, tryna get back.” Everyone is gagged by everything Lil Nas X is doing right now and rightfully so.

Teasing the release of ‘MONTERO,’ with an Instagram post of his celestial album cover back in August, today Lil Nas X quite literally owns New Music Friday. At just 22 years old his growth within the music industry has sky rocketed, and ‘MONTERO’ is complete proof that his music is more than just quip.

Nonchalant eighth track ‘LOST IN THE CITADEL’ plays as a troubled love song, as he sings: “I need time to get up and get off the floor, I need time to realise I can’t be yours.” A dystopian daydream, ‘LOST IN THE CITADEL’ is a trance-like break from the high energy run-ups. It’s the perfect break and further edges forward the otherworldly theme that is weaved throughout the entire album.

Album standouts for this writer include notorious jewels ‘INDUSTRY BABY,’ ‘SCOOP,’ ‘LOST IN CITADEL’… the list could well and truly go on. But ‘LIFE AFTER SALEM’ has to go down as a true pinnacle, from its grunge infused tendencies to the edging of its very colossal break, ‘LIFE AFTER SALEM’ is a twisted penultimate and plays on the light to dark juxtaposition Lil Nas X has positioned at the centre of this album. We knew from the moment he dropped ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ that the artist was going to be toying with the light to dark theories of heaven and hell and now ‘MONTERO’ is out, it couldn’t be more on brand.

Completing with acoustic ballad ‘AM I DREAMING’ - featuring the one and only Miley Cyrus - Lil Nas X is forever pulling tricks out of his sleeve. Two Cyrus musicians down, two more to go… come on, we want a Noah Cyrus feature already! Lil Nas feat Trace Cyrus cover of Metro Station ‘Shake it’ - I’m just spit balling here…

A colossal event release, ‘MONTERO’ excels the marketing spin by delivering one of 2021’s most daring, riveting, and honest pop statement. After months of anticipation, Lil Nas X speaks his truth – and the world is ready to listen.

9/10

Words: Laviea Thomas

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