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The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

MUSIC REVIEW: Lil Nas X’s new single goes viral for wrong reasons

An+artist%E2%80%99s+rendering+of+a+scene+from+rapper+Lil+Nas+X%E2%80%99s+music+video%2C+%E2%80%9CJ+Christ%2C%E2%80%9D+that+went+viral+earlier+this+year.+The+24-year-old+musician%2C+who+announced+his+gender+preference+on+June+30%2C+2019%2C+through+a+tweet+on+X%2C+formerly+known+as++Twitter%2C+presents+himself+on+the+cross%2C+replicating+Jesus.%0A
Iris Kim
An artist’s rendering of a scene from rapper Lil Nas X’s music video, “J Christ,” that went viral earlier this year. The 24-year-old musician, who announced his gender preference on June 30, 2019, through a tweet on X, formerly known as Twitter, presents himself on the cross, replicating Jesus.

He dedicates his new single to the man who had the “greatest comeback of all time.”

That’s what Lil Nas X captioned in his Instagram post on Monday, Jan. 8, teasing his comeback since “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” released in 2021, before going on to clarify on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he’s not looking to offend any religious groups. 

Though the 24-year-old singer and rapper is poorly attempting to return to music after two years – connecting his return as extravagantly as Jesus’ resurrection – it just does not bode well for the artist. Instead of creating a sensational comeback, the song is going viral for the wrong reasons. 

Before the “J Christ’s” release, Lil Nas X was already on the receiving end of immense backlash on social media for repeatedly using religious imagery, such as the Christian ideology of angels and devils to promote his song — without being religious himself. From his provocative music video exploring his queer identity through cosplaying the devil in his 2021 full-length record, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and now, going one step further to present himself on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The new song released on Friday, Jan. 12, is shockingly short — a mere two minutes and 34 seconds, compared to more than three minutes of his last single — lacking the sensational feeling of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” 

The whole drop feels like a publicity stunt gone wrong as Lil Nas X shared an apology following the criticism he received in a TikTok video posted on Monday, Jan. 15. 

“I know I messed up really bad this time. I can act unbothered all I want, but it’s definitely taken a mental toll on me,” the singer croons in a three-minute video. “I’m not some evil demon guy trying to destroy everybody’s values and stuff like that; that’s not me.”

After his hit single “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X aimed to make his second era even bigger with the help of a controversy. However, on Monday, Jan. 22, “J Christ” charted No. 69 on Billboard Top 100, debuting much lower than the singer probably hoped. The record is also at No. 21 on the Digital Song Sales as of Friday, Feb. 23, with under 1,700 copies sold. 

It’s clear that, like many other things, doing the same thing over and over in music doesn’t always work — and of course, stirring up a controversy to garner attention may not be the answer to success. 

The new song starts with a holy harmony of gospel choir while a voice in the background echoes lyrics, “Is he ‘bout to give ‘em something viral?” Seemingly, Nas acknowledges his trollful nature as many people recognize him as less a rapper or a singer than a meme maker — which feels too much of an overused tactic to promote his songs now. 

He then beat drops with a familiar trap cadence — akin to Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” — lacking originality, which is disappointing knowing Lil Nas X took nearly two years for this song. Being known for his unique and upbeat songs, this new single doesn’t seem worth the wait, and “J-Christ” even sounds like a bad sample of “Humble.”

The new single seems too similar to his previous songs, following the mocking of Christianity and other religious themes, which makes it hard for this comeback to be considered innovative or groundbreaking. 

The music video, however, presents the iconic dances, spiritual imagery and over-the-top visuals that trademark Lil Nas X. He starts off showing several lookalike A-list celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Barack Obama and Mariah Carey ascending into heaven as well as defeating the devil and angel. The amount of effort put into the performance of the music video is lacking with the overall lyrics and the beat of the song. 

Hopefully, Lil Nas X’s next drop doesn’t result in fans crucifying him.

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Stacy Kim, Feature Editor
After her first year as staff reporter for The Accolade, senior Stacy Kim is eager to return, prepared to serve as the 2023-2024 feature editor. After working closely with the feature editors last year, Kim was inspired by the compelling stories within the section and hopes to further expand her writing skills. During her time on staff, Kim hopes to share more stories of life on campus and enhance her reporting skills.  Outside of The Accolade, Kim participates in various clubs and organizations such as the California Association of Student Councils and Cooperation Act. She also enjoys creating playlists, taking naps and eating Korean food.
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