There’s a review from Pitchfork (oh, Pitchfork…) making the rounds right now with their trademark snark turned up exponentially in light of this record. Writer Alphonso Pierre at one point quips “For the entirety of 7, it’s unclear if Lil Nas X actually likes music.”
Rude. But let’s put that assumption to the test, shall we?
The unlikely, yet somehow completely unsurprising, hit that is “Old Town Road” first graced my ears a few weeks on the way home from visiting grandparents. My sister and brother in law showed it to me in the spirit of “Oh my gosh, you have to hear this!” if you know what I mean. As that Pitchfork writer alluded to—there’s a self-awareness in the song for how over the top and meme-tastic it is. But it’s fun! And isn’t that all that matters at the end of the day? If you create a fun song that impacts culture like this, everyone wins. I guarantee 99% of the middle schoolers obsessed with that song right now will probably be playing it at their wedding receptions 15 years from now.
So what of the balance of the record? Let’s see, shall we?
In summary, this album is a fun collection of genre bending songs that, in my view, are in the same vein of “Old Town Road.” I take the view that the critics praising “Old Town Road” and trashing the other songs would be trashing “Old Town Road” as well if it didn’t have the commercial success it’s had.
I predict that there will be more tracks with commercial success from Lil Nas X. In spite of his odd stage name (I mean, it has Nas in it). By far my favorite is “F9mily (You and Me)” which features Travis Barker on drums and backing vocals. I really feel that Lil Nas X’s team missed the boat on making “Panini” the second single, unless they just needed one more song to tease the EP. I could see “F9mily” being a memorable end-of-summer single that makes up for the lack of twang with some gnarly rock. I mean, the drum beats are fairly standard. But, it’s Travis Barker, man! I only say that with a little bit of snark. In all seriousness, it really is my favorite track.
The meme-tastic moments are prominent in most songs. In “Kick It” the last lines of the chorus “Oh come get weed from me / it’s good” feel like a caricature of songs about weed, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. So corny it’s good. Cardi B’s guest appearance doesn’t seem to be as self-aware, being more par for the course for what she’s known for. Lots of attitude and angst.
What I really appreciate about this EP is that it’s basically Soundcloud hip-hop for people who don’t like Soundcloud hip-hop. It takes a bunch of elements that seem like they would be cringeworthy standalone but meshed together turn into something really enjoyable. Music critics will be dissecting this one for awhile.