‘Montero’ is an honest portrait of Lil Nas X journey to fame

iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Singer Lil Nas X arrives at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 27, 2021.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Lil Nas X’s debut album, “Montero,” takes listeners on an emotional self-reflecting journey in expressing several themes throughout the 15 tracklists. Revealing personal demons on coming to terms with his queer identity, the exploration of finding meaningful love, and fearing one day losing his fame. 

“Tales of Dominica” sets the tone of the album in Lil Nas X’s point of view of when he first started making music. The rapper’s music wasn’t making numbers and couldn’t envision having a successful music career. The soft piano tempo beat opened up the song, following a soft drum beat as he sings, “I’m floating in an ocean-less sea/ Could I be Wrong? Was everybody right about me?” 

Growing up in a broken home, domestic violence was a constant occurrence. Sleeping on an inflatable bed with no money and dealing with a drug addict mother. The psychological impacts took a toll on his mental health with verses like “I’ve been living at my lowest, it’s safe to say/ Hope my little bite of hope don’t fade away.” 

Searching for a lifetime partner, “Thats what I want,” a catchy lyrical upbeat song takes the backseat when it comes to “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” “Lost in the Citadel,” “Scoop” ft Doja Cat, and “Life after Salem,” these songs deal with meaningless intimate relationships he has been involving himself with. 

“Life after Salem” gives the listeners a deeper look inside his relationship on how his lovers only use him but Lil Nas X will take any love he can get with lyrics, “Throw me up against the wall/ And kick me when I have to crawl/ Ooh, I love it when you show no love at all/ You know I can be your part-time lover/ Our scars, they’ll dance with each other.” 

“Industry Baby” ft. Jack Harlow has a high school marching band feel to it with trumpets beats playing along to the lyrics, “I told you long ago, on the road/ I got what they waitin’ for.” This lyrical underdog theme plays throughout these tracklists like “Dead Right Now,” “Don’t Want It,” and “One of Me” ft. Elton John is proving doubters he is more than a one-hit-wonder depart from his mega-hit “Old Town Road.” 

Showcasing his star quality abilities sometimes weighs heavy on his shoulders.“One of Me” with John playing the piano has verses like, “Now, can you prove yourself?/ Everybody waitin’/ I’m just being real, swear somebody hatin’/ I don’t see you lastin’ long, and that’s just me being honest/ Even if your album okay, it’s floppin’, that’s a promise.” 

 “Am I dreaming” ft. Miley Cyrus and “Void” is about Lil Nas X reaching fame, feeling the pressure to succeed, and fearing one day it will all disappear. 

“Void” is a self-reflecting letter Lil Nas X is writing to himself after the success of “Old Town Road ”and where does he go from there. Hearing the slow tempo beat matches the lyrics and listeners can hear the pain in his voice as he sings, “See, I’m gettin’ tired of the way I been livin’/I’d rather die than to live with these feelings/Stuck in this world where there’s so much to prove/Every win gives you more room to lose/ It’s too many ups and downs on the ride.” 

“Montero” is a coming-of-age album showcasing a young man who hurts, feels, seeks, and celebrates his journey. An honest portrait of Lil Nas X’s life so far.

More from around NYC