All Photos Credited To The Music Video
Lil Nas X’s recent music video drop ‘Call me by your name’ has caught the attention of many. The song is named after himself and this theme is reflected through the video, in his multi-rolling acting, where Lil Nas X plays several characters. Visuals within the video, such as the make-up, costume and CGI animation are impressive and engaging. Lil Nas X uses his music video to tell a story, segregating the plot into three defining locations. Making biblical references throughout, the overriding theme of his video becomes clearer in an Instagram photo he posted straight after the video was released. Where Lil Nas X shares a letter he wrote to his fourteen-year-old self, the letter reveals that the song was created to inspire other people who share his experiences and struggles as a gay male. It is thought the song and video should empower his desired audience to avoid hiding and to embrace their true selves.
The first section of the video begins in a Garden Of Eden-esque location surrounded by flowers and clouds. The shoot location composes of beautiful shades of purples and blues, portraying nature in powdered, vibrant tones enforcing a whimsical heavenly vision. His gem style make-up, bejewelled nails and sparkling tunic enhance this glowing state. Within this scene, Lil Nas X encounters the devil, whom is seen to chase and haunt him, exemplifying fear and control through seductive capturing.
The next chapter of the story is Lil Nas X’s imprisonment, where he is under the control of Mari-Antoinette look-a-like guards. These guards seem to act as a metaphorical display of traditional standards. The creative direction of this video takes a contemporary twist on the classic. Through the use of figures such as the heckling crowd of Greek statues infer this reference to a dated past. The guards also enforce this idea of challenging traditional ideas through their attire that mirrors old fashioned upper echelons of society but created with 2021 flair. For example, the pastel blue colour runs through their suits, tall locks, striking eye shadow and talon-like acrylics. The prisoner wears a light and fluffy candyfloss fur top, his hair emulating the guards’ tight pink curls; this style infers cupid/fairy vibes; suggesting his innocence. The visual aesthetics throughout this video are an impressive tool used to subtly refer to a deeper subjective understanding of society.
In contrast, a bold entrance establishes the final scene of the music video; it begins with Lil Nas X being assisted to heaven by a form of deity. This ascendance is interrupted from an uprising pole forced into Lil Nas X’s grip, where he pole dances into a cascading fiery hell. To echo this location, the final look of the music video radiates a more scandalous and sexy vibe. With bright red cornrow braids, Calvin Klein boxers, knee high leather boots and crowded tattooed skin, Lil Nas X transforms his look whilst embracing Hell. Meeting the devil through seductive encounters, he achieves the desired goal to take over hell, becoming the devil himself.
The Montero music video is enticing and visually incredible. The talent in the cinematic effects, hair, make-up and costume design deserve serious praise and recognition. Its creativity and contemporary flair permit great subjectivity for interpretation but the publishing of a meaningful letter along side the video enforces a subtle recognition for a deeper meaning of the artist’s personal intentions.
Words By Theodora Wood