On March 26th, rap-country-pop superstar Lil Nas X released his long-awaited song ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’. He has been teasing the song since mid-2020 on TikTok. The song quickly became a heavily used sound on the platform. This generated excitement for the song across the internet. It wasn’t until March 2021 that fans got a release date for the single. Lil Nas X posted on Twitter that the single would be released at the end of the month and unveiled the artwork for the song.
The Rise of Lil Nas X
Before being one of the biggest stars in the music industry, Lil Nas X was just a normal teenager on Twitter. He ran a Nicki Minaj stan account for several years before ever releasing his first song. The account on Twitter was under the name “@NasMaraj”. He had several viral “story threads” that were interactive adventures that his followers could explore through the use of Twitter’s quote retweet feature. In late 2018, he released the paradigm shift that is his gargantuan hit song, ‘Old Town Road’. Initially, he released the song with accompanying visual clips from the 2018 game, “Red Dead Redemption”. The video went viral on YouTube, while the song began to make its rounds on TikTok. By the time ‘Old Town Road’ was re-released in March of the following year, it was already a national sensation.
Originally, the song appeared on the Billboard Country charts. It was then taken off the chart because people within the country music industry didn’t deem it “country enough”. This caused outrage from fans and people within the industry. It was perceived that Lil Nas X was not considered country because he was black. Black artists often have trouble crossing genres because people will keep them within a box. In April of 2019, Billy Ray Cyrus added a verse to the song. After the remix, it reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed at that position for a record-breaking nineteen weeks. Since ‘Old Town Road’, every single Lil Nas X release has all went platinum and he has become a pop culture icon.
Named after Lil Nas X himself, ‘Montero’ is a song that he never thought he’d release. He posted on Twitter the night before the single came out a letter to his younger self. “Dear 14-year-old Montero, I wrote a song with our name in it. It’s about a guy I met last summer.” The song features an earworm of a hook and two short but very catchy verses. Lil Nas X has a knack for making melodies that stay with the listener long after the song is over. He did it with ‘Old Town Road’, ‘Panini’, and ‘Holiday’, it seems like he is continuing with this new song as well. Montero is probably the best song he’s released so far.
He made the smart choice to release the chorus of the song on Tik Tok last year, and when the song finally released, it felt like you already knew the words to half of the song. The chorus has been played all over TikTok for nearly a year. “Call me when you want, call me when you need, Call me in the morning, I’ll be on the way.” It is a simple chorus but it proves to be effective.
The Music Video Features What??
When Lil Nas X released the single, he also released the accompanying visuals. He is one of the few artists in the industry that put a lot of effort into their music videos. Many artists opt for a simple lyric video or a video of them just singing along to the lyrics of the song. But not Lil Nas X, he has consistently released visually appealing and well-thought-out videos for each release. Montero is no different. Viewers are transported to the world of Montero and we see a dreaded Nas laying against a tree and being tempted by a serpent.
The video features a lot of biblical allegories from the beginning. It starts in a garden. After he is tempted by the serpent, he goes to trial and is executed for his actions. He then ascends to heaven, but before he reaches the top, he chooses to descend to the depths of hell. After confronting his demons, he kills the devil to reclaim himself. It is a fairly straightforward video but it is much more creative than what we have been seeing in the past few years from many of his peers.
After the release of the video, the pearl-clutching began. All the classics cliches were used, “What about the children?”, “It’s an agenda!”, and “Hollywood is evil!” Many didn’t like the addition of “the devil”, hell, or Lil Nas X’s comfortability with himself. Some artists flirt with satanic imagery within their art but Lil Nas X seems to make people much more upset than others. It seems like a lot of the outrage is coming from a place of homophobia rather than concern for children. Lil Nas X took to Twitter to address some of his detractors. When a user tweeted about their faux-concern for the children, the artist responded back with “I am not gonna spend my entire career trying to cater to your children. That is your job.”
Montero The Album
The day after the single’s release, Lil Nas X announced that his album would also be titled “Montero” and it will be released in the Summer. This will be his debut album and the only song we know for sure is to be on it is ‘Montero’. Lil Nas X is an unpredictable force in the music industry. He got famous off a country-rap song, then proceeded to release pop-rap tracks on his debut EP. Now with ‘Montero’, it sounds like he may be going in a completely different direction. If this new single is any indication of the quality of the album, he may have another historic billboard run.