MONTERO – Lil Nas X

Ever since I heard “INDUSTRY BABY (feat. Jack Harlow)”, not a day has gone by where I didn’t think about this man. That’s right, I’m a Jack Harlow superfan. No, seriously, I have had that song stuck in my head again and again, and it is never a negative experience. I think it’s Lil Nas X’s delivery; he’s undeniably speaking, but the way his breathing mingles with the percussion and his tone sticks to the melody makes this song a must-hear. Go listen to him deliver it acapella in the Genius Behind the Lyrics segment; there’s a quality to it unlike anything in the rap scene, and I’m pretty sure it’s the main reason this man has risen to the top. Anyway, the album is incredible. I think it’s more punk rock than rap; is this the beginning of the next wave of queercore? “THATS WHAT I WANT” and “LOST IN THE CITADEL” are fantastic fast, sung bangers with hard, driving guitar and intense melody, while “TALES OF DOMINICA”, “SUN GOES DOWN”, “VOID”, and “AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus)” opt for softer acoustic rock instrumentation; the vocal harmonies on “THATS WHAT I WANT” are surprisingly 70s, and very welcome. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, “INDUSTRY BABY”, and “DON’T WANT IT” take from the darker parts of Latin music, emphasizing the i-V contrast, while “LIFE AFTER SALEM” goes even darker with a velvety i-VIb7-Vb-IIIb7 progression. You can really bask in the big synth chords on “DEAD RIGHT NOW” and “ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John)”, though you might not notice the latter’s expert, complex, percussion, which blurs the line between strings and drums. “TALES FROM DOMINICA” is another standout, with its slow 12/8, which lets us focus on each beat, and that incredible violin solo. His melodies are constantly infective, expertly using descending scales to mesh well with the chords and always spectacularly weaving around the beat. Put together those spectacular vocals, harmony, production, percussion, and guitar, and you just get jam after jam after jam.

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