The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
To anyone who knows me, it’s no secret that I’ve been totally and completely obsessed with Lil Nas X. And what’s not to love? I’ll die on the hill that he’s the only celebrity who knows how to correctly use Twitter. More importantly, though, he has paved the way for Black queer men to have a voice in popular culture. Prior to his fame, there were very few people of color to look to that identified publicly as queer. His stardom has been surrounded by controversy since Old Town Road, and his coming-out only exacerbated that fact. However, his unapologetic attitude towards this backlash has led him to be labelled as a modern-day David Bowie.
Earlier this month, his debut studio album, MONTERO, dropped. And MAN is it good. 10/10. Transcendent is an adjective I’ve used to describe it many times. I promise, even if you’ve never really paid attention to Lil Nas X before, you will after listening to the album. Every song is just as good as the next, and their accompanying visuals just enrich the experience.
As with any masterpiece of an album, it’s incredibly difficult to decide which songs are your favorites, and I’ve delayed writing down my rankings many times just because it’s just too damn hard. But after much deliberation, I present my personal rankings of all 15 songs on MONTERO.
(Necessary disclaimer: these are 100% just my opinions based on how much I like listening to each song. I apologize in advance if your fav ends up at the bottom.)
- THE ART OF REALIZATION
This one really only ranks at the bottom because it’s a 30-second interlude as opposed to a full-length song. It’s necessary to listen to the first time because it ties the album together as a whole, but playing on its own just can’t compare to the other tracks.
- AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus)
The last song on the album, Lil Nas X features yet another member of the Cyrus family, this time with him and Miley in an emotional blend, begging the listeners to never forget them and everything they’ve done for us. While it is a beautiful ballad with fantastic lyrics and harmonies, the track feels more out of place than the rest of them, and in my opinion, could be a stronger final song.
- iNDUSTRY BABY (feat. Jack Harlow)
Please don’t come for me on this one. This one is ranked so low because of Jack Harlow more than anything else. Sure, his name brought some attention from new fans that might not have otherwise listened (hence why it was released as a single), but his verse is the weakest and doesn’t connect that well to the rest of the song. It’s almost like he’s too straight for it. Absolute banger though.
- DOLLA SIGN SLIME (feat. Megan Thee Stallion)
This one bops. It’s so good. But it gets a low spot on the list because it does my QUEEN Megan dirty. IMO, she’s THE most talented and dynamic rapper in the game right now, and her feature on this track does nothing to showcase that. She has one killer line and the rest is just average. The rest of the song is power anthem, so it sucks that it gets a low ranking out of principle.
- DONT WANT IT
The next few rankings (until number 8) are determined based on my vibes and my vibes only. Like I said, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but it’s even harder to pick a median. I find myself skipping this one a bit more, for no particular reason, just doesn’t fit my mood as often as some of the others.
Definitely one of the more moving songs. He really opens up into his personal life and gives some unparalleled vocal ability. However, the sheer raw emotional-ness of it means that for the sake of my well-being, I don’t listen to it as much.
- ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John)
Talk about the ultimate middle finger. This one is great because it directly addresses all the doubt surrounding his career (and some of the lines you can’t help but say ‘DAMN’). But, when the song said “feat. Elton John”, I really thought we were going to have more than just an instrumental feature. The disappointment was brought on by my own assumptions, but it still makes it stay this number.
- MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
Title song, so of course it’s a freaking BANGER. This one’s music video alone generated enough critical attention to fill tabloids for months. But because I listened to it so much while it was a single, I’ve been directing my attention to the new stuff I haven’t heard yet. I feel like exact middle is exactly how to properly rank this song.
- SCOOP (feat. Doja Cat)
The instrumentals in this song scratch an itch in my brain I didn’t realize needed scratching. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Doja Cat, her feature is undoubtedly the best on the album. Plus, his admission of doing pilates is something I think about at least once a day.
- SUN GOES DOWN
listened to this one a lot as a single too, but it’s such an incredible and soothing tune that I have to put it towards the top. This track hasn’t left my “On Repeat” in MONTHS, and my listening patterns show no sign of changing that anytime soon. I can’t get enough of it.
- LIFE AFTER SALEM
Getting into the top five, this song is sexy and I cannot stop listening to it. when he screams “what you want from me” in the chorus, the vocals make a piece of my soul transcend into another dimension. His talents are vast, and this one really demonstrates that.
- THATS WHAT I WANT
Not only is this one of the catchiest songs ever, the music video??? Unmatched. It really is artwork accompanying artwork. This one is powerful — both lyrically and vocally. He knows how to evoke emotion in the listeners, and I highly recommend watching this ASAP.
- TALES OF DOMINICA
I feel drawn to this song for a number of reasons, but the bridge in this one is masterful. There’s so many times on the album where Lil Nas opens the listeners up into a piece of his world, and I just find that this song does that in such a gorgeously enticing way that it earns the bronze medal of my list.
- DEAD RIGHT NOW
This was the first new song on the album. I think it was the perfect introduction to grab people into the story of MONTERO. Another brain itch scratched with this one too — the combination of exquisite musicality and just plain catchiness has made this song tough competition for my top song.
- LOST IN THE CITADEL
This is the perfect song. Seriously. I cannot find one thing wrong with it. This song is solidified as my top pick because whenever I shuffle the album, I always start with it. It can be interpreted in so many different ways, plus this one has the best accompanying visual that’s not a music video. One time, I fell asleep listening to just this one song on repeat, so I can only imagine what my Spotify Wrapped is going to look like. LOST IN THE CITADEL is in the running for my top song of 2021. Go listen right now.
I hope if you haven’t already started listening to MONTERO, that you do immediately now that you’ve read about how great it is. There truly are no skips. Also, if you have the time, read this article about how Lil Nas X is revolutionizing modern hip-hop. Once you take the time to appreciate everything he is and what he represents, you’ll enjoy the music even more.