Review: Lil Nas X's 'Montero' is an impressively varied pop debut

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The 22-year-old rapper rose to fame when "Old Town Road" smashed chart records. His official debut is an impressive mix of fun bops and vulnerability.
Final Grade: 8.3/10

"Montero" consists of 15 tracks. Columbia Records

Ahlgrim: It's difficult to imagine the type of person who wouldn't enjoy this album — provided they have operational ears and a human heart.

Of course, "Montero" isn't flawless. But it's certainly one of the strongest high-profile debuts in recent memory, and it's pretty obvious why. Lil Nas X is just absurdly likable.

One of the reasons I was disappointed by his 2019 EP "7" was that it lacked his peculiar glow, that undeniable charm at the core of "Old Town Road" and its record-breaking reign. Luckily, "Montero" glows as often as it sizzles, snaps, broods, and bursts with passion.

Lil Nas could have made an entire album of glowy hits like "Old Town Road," "Call Me by Your Name," and "Industry Baby," and it would have been delightful. Instead, "Montero" is impressively flexible, bounding gracefully in between bright acoustic guitar, trap beats, confessional emo-pop, and stadium balladry — infusing each mood with warm melodies and glossy production fit for any top pop star.

Lil Nas continues to prove the…
Callie Ahlgrim, Courteney Larocca
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