One thing is clear: Lil Nas X is a genius.
The Grammy Award-winning artist released the single and video for “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” after ONE YEAR of teasers; and it is a visually-orgasmic marvel worth every moment of waiting. Does it take that long to make a great song and video? It’s easy to make a case for why it doesn’t — but for Lil Nas X, anticipation is as much a part of the creative process and fan experience as developing the sound and visuals themselves.
The first sounds we hear are an audio introduction to the mythical land Montero; which Lil Nas X describes as a place where you no longer have to hide “the parts of yourself you don’t want the world to see”. We are transported through the clouds to a cotton candy-colored dreamscape scattered with ruins that nod to ancient Rome and the flora and wildlife of an unknown alien planet.
Lil Nas X’s latest single is an upbeat siren song for the subject of his sexual attraction; someone living a dark, fast-paced, and enviable life.
The rapper’s message is that he’s unfazed by the apparent danger of connecting with his interest and simply wants what he wants. The video opens as we find Lil Nas X — sparkling and wig-clad with a full set of black rhinestone encrusted nails — carelessly strumming a pink guitar. He is chased and seduced by an alien snake in his likeness. Here, he is his own video vixen playing nearly every character shown, which appears to have been a lot of fun to conceptualize and bring to life.
We journey from the field of seduction to a trial where the artist faces a panel of finger-wagging judges who also share his face. He makes a case for his hedonistic desires, but is ultimately stoned by a coliseum full of angry look-alikes.
As his spirit lifts into heaven, an iridescent film covering him, Lil Nas X reverses course; leaving the angelic figure that was welcoming him into a purer, more toned-down state of being; choosing instead to take hold of a silver pole and begin a fast and sexy descent into hell.
Twirling and hitting pole tricks as he makes his way down, he demands again to be called by his lover’s name as he’s decided to go all in for his passion and himself. He struts through hell’s gates and right into Satan’s lap; giving us the chair dance visuals we didn’t know we needed before taking Satan’s crown for himself. The aesthetics and vocal delivery from start to finish are excellent and unapologetically queer, deserving of every praise.
This entire project speaks volumes to the effect of being given creative license and time to perfect an idea. It also has to be great having the support of a team that doesn’t seek to reel any of it back in.
As someone essentially birthed from the internet and fandom culture, he has a great knack for what’s hot and mastery of his own signature style.
This video is ambitious and he nails it.
It’s groundbreaking for a mainstream rap performance and yet it shouldn’t be. With Lil Nas X, we are getting the layers we deserve in 2021 — uninhibited by the confines of masculinity and heterosexual-centered storylines — which is long overdue.
In just three minutes, we got a visually-dynamic story about desire; hypocritical judgement from others; and even judgment from himself while capping it with the message that he’s going to fully own who he is — love, lust, and sexuality included. In his own words, “Fuck it, let’s ride”. Along with this highly-anticipated single, the artist announced a full album to be released this summer named after this title track. We are excited to see more from the MONTERO universe.
What are your thoughts on “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X? Sound off below!
Header: Lil Nas X in “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” (Columbia Records)