‘Long Live Montero’: A Triumph of Sound

‘Long Live Montero’: A Triumph of Sound (Rebecca Sapp via Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

HBO has always been on the cutting edge of documenting true musical legends. Tina Turner, Little Richard, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, David Bowie, etc. Now, the time has come for Lil Nas X to get his due with his new HBO documentary, “Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero.” 

This 96-minute documentary, currently streaming, shows us the experiences that Lil Nas X has gone through in his rise to fame. Not only do you see some of his amazing performances, but you also see a raw and personal view of his life, struggles, and identity as he comes to terms with himself and being a massive LGBTQIA+ icon.

This film takes the viewer through a journey of self-acceptance as not only does Lil Nas X find out who he is through song, dance, and sweaty musical numbers, but he also helps others find out who they truly are. His metamorphosis mirrors that of a butterfly as he spreads his wings and discovers his place in the world as an icon for the LGBTQIA+ community. His songs in the doc with live vocals and dance performances are bop after bop with hits such as “Industry Baby,” “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and the record-breaking “Old Town Road.” The show is a visual feast with galactic visuals and stunning costume design. It’s not Renaissance caliber, but it is still a feast for the eyes.

Through the movie, one begins to appreciate the work that goes into the tour, while also seeing the profundity of Lil Nas X’s mind. “We live in this time where it’s the easiest to blow up in the music industry but it’s the hardest to maintain it. You’re lucky if someone remembers your name next year.” For an artist who became famous for a novelty song, this rings true, but he has reinvented himself and shown that he is a staying power in pop. He also shows versatility and sells controversy better than any artist at the moment. Even during the documentary, Madonna, a fellow legend of musical controversy shows up.   

With many different stops on the tour, none are as emotional as Atlanta. Lil Nas X used to live in The A making this a homecoming show as many family members watched him perform. This created an emotional and heartwarming show that reinforced Lil Nas X’s true self.  

Lil Nas X has also said that his new album will be based on escapism, but in a more positive form that will inspire more people to be alive. To him, music is liberating and therapeutic. For a person who feels like he can’t be 100% with his family, he feels at peace with other Black queer men. 

This documentary shows how talented and profound Lil Nas X is. He shows an amazing degree of self-awareness, but also a lack of cockiness that is usually the downfall of many artists. This documentary toed the line between rawness and hilarity. Regardless of what you think of him, he changed the game. Long live Montero.

5 sweaty men twerking out of 5.

Guillermo Guzman (he/him/they) is a Texas-based nerd who loves talking about video games, autism, and entertainment. Follow him on Instagram: @boofy_booferson and X: @Dimpy_Tenders.

Zipporah Pruitt, (she/her) is an L.A. homegrown journalist, who covers entertainment and culture. Follow her on X and Instagram: @zippzapps.

Edited by Nykeya Woods

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