File image: Lil Nas X accepts the Video of the Year award during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards
– Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS
Lil Nas X’s debut album Montero is receiving rave reviews from critics.
Earlier this year, the 22-year-old rapper announced his new album with a pregnancy photoshoot, calling it his “baby”.
In a five-star review for The Independent, Helen Brown wrote: “Close your eyes as you listen to Montero and you can almost feel the rainbow confetti falling from the ceiling and sticking to your tears. This album isn’t the creation of a gimmick-spinner. It’s an album bursting with technicolour heart.”
She also mentions the main thing that punches through Lil Nas X’s entire album is the “energised and emotional expression of his queer identity”.
“Over Montero’s 15 tracks, he pulls together as many bright, witty and varied textures as his own, headline-grabbing wardrobe. There’s Latin, rock, and acoustic guitar, moody indie moments, yearning concert-hall violin, sidewalk brass, and all manner of keyboards (including some jazzy contributions from Elton John),” Brown wrote.
The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis also gave Montero five stars saying that Lil Nas X’s album “hits an impressively eclectic sweet spot between hip-hop and pop, leaping confidently from trap beats and martial horns to grinding, distorted hard rock; from music that recalls early 00s R&B to stadium ballads.”
Petridis also mentions the “advertising tie-ins” that came in with the release of the album.
“In the first commercial, he shills Taco Bell’s Toasted Breakfast Burritos in a pink pompadour wig. Then there’s a series of adverts for Uber Eats, in which his comic foil is Elton John, one of Montero’s guest stars, albeit a low-key one, contributing piano,” he describes. “They’re the kind of big-money gigs you only get if you’re in pop’s upper echelons, which Lil Nas X undoubtedly is.”
Variety’s Mike Wass also had positive things to say about the album.
He wrote: “With its genre-stretching approach and refreshingly honest exploration of love and loneliness, Nas reminds us that he’s a musical force to be reckoned with. Perhaps more importantly, “Montero” hints that the rapper is ready to give voice to the fears and longings of a generation of queer kids.”
In a four-star review for The Age, Kish Lal highlights how Lil Nas X “finally justifies his place at the top.”
She wrote: “It’s easy to mistake the rapper for an internet troll, especially when the rollout for his album included a pregnancy photoshoot, complete with a prosthetic belly for Instagram. Nas isn’t trolling, however: he’s just unapologetically Black and queer, and it’s something his naysayers can’t get past.”
Adding: “The music speaks for itself on Montero, his 15-track debut that, despite being prefaced with viral jokes, is anything but.”
The Evening Standard’s David Smyth also gave the album four stars, writing: “What shines through on Montero is the sense of creative freedom.”
Montero can be streamed now on services including Spotify and Apple Music.
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