Lil Nas has taken the music industry by storm once again with his latest single Montero (Call me by your name), which was released on March 26th. The track offers an honest and vulnerable portrayal of who Montero has become, and how he wants to challenge queer narratives in the music industry.
When speaking to Genius earlier this week about the song, the rapper said “It’s about time I say something out of pocket in a song… let’s normalize having these fucking lines in songs, the same way somebody might talk about fucking a girl or fucking a guy”. The single expresses his own personal story of temptation, judgement, and about standing in the full power of his sexuality. On release, Lil Nas paid tribute to his 14-year-old self on Instagram highlighting the importance of challenging such voices, pushing agenda’s and avoiding the fear of being secretive when it comes to relations; I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist.
Since the release of the music video, fans have been going mad on social media for its visuals. The provoking video, which was co-directed by Lil Nas, sees the singer play the role of Adam in the Garden of Eden where he is tempted by the snake and gives in to the carnal desires he was forbidden to explore. The video is packed with various religious, historical and mythical references including a scene where the rapper is riding a strip pole to hell and giving the devil a lap dance, before killing him and wearing his horns. It received over 70 million views in its first 7 days and seems to be quite the topic of conversation. Lil Nas hopes his video will open up discussions about the continuous oppression faced by LGBTQ+ youths (especially in Christian households), and challenge the idea of sin, judgement and punishment that has kept many from embracing their true selves out of fear.
When creating his music video, Lil Nas and his team took inspiration from many cultural influences, including fellow musician FKA twigs by paying homage to her music video Cellophane, where she too is reaching up towards a godly figure before plummeting down a pole towards a hell-ish, purgatorial-like place. On Instagram he thanked twigs for her hard work in bringing the visuals to life, and when speaking to Time, acknowledged her artistry “I felt like twigs did a really amazing job [and] I wanted to do my own take on it”. If you couldn’t already tell by its title, Lil Nas also drew inspiration from the award-winning 2017 film, Call Me By Your Name. The film reflects a same sex love story and begs the question do you truly love someone as yourself, enough to call them by your own name? This was one of the first gay films Lil Nas watched and as such he wanted to include the films symbolic meaning to him in his single.
While the single has caused some controversies since its release, Lil Nas hopes it encourages young teens to accept themselves, push conversations and to not live in fear. Check out the music video below:
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