Monday, November 30th, 2020

Lil Nas X – Holiday

Taking his reindeer to the Old Town Road…


Austin Nguyen: “Festive rap song” isn’t a phrase I thought would end up in my search history anytime soon, yet here we are with “St. Brick Intro” and “Ludacrismas” from Entertainment Weekly and Complex articles. “Holiday” doesn’t appear on either list for obvious reasons (i.e. publication dates), but it’s also not so much a song infused with the Christmas spirit as it is one with a wintry marketing plan. While “I got ho(e)s on ho(e)s” takes on the form of a double entendre in December,  Michael Jackson memes and vers flexes work all-year round as tweetable quotes you’ll probably delete in a month. If you took out the pseudo-sleigh-bell “hew” whispers and replaced “holiday” with “Saturday,” this would just be another gimmick-filled Lil Nas X song, TikTok and remix ready. At least this one has an expiry date.

Oliver Maier: There’s a puzzling asymmetry between Lil Nas’s mischievous online presence and the wooden, often downright dour quality of his music. This could probably be attributed to the unenviable task of having to make new songs after scoring one of the biggest hits of all time, even if “Old Town Road” showed early signs of the same issues. Either way, “Holiday” doesn’t come bearing many surprises. It’s catchy in a rudimentary sort of way, stocking-stuffed with winking jokes and buoyed by an inflatable Tay Keith beat, but nothing about it really convinces me that Lil Nas wants to be there. The visuals, in all of their camp absurdity, feel like more of a labour of love than the song does.

Alex Clifton: I appreciate that Lil Nas X gives approximately zero fucks and is willing to take risks with his music. It’s what made his career in the first place, and I like the fact that he takes whatever he wants from his favourite genres and mixes them to create his own brand. I’ll also admit that I’m confused as to why he’s released a song called “Holiday” that isn’t exactly about Christmas but has an entire video that positions him as Cyborg Santa — is this a level of irony I’m just not getting, or am I overthinking it? The song itself is decent, but doesn’t hit me quite as powerfully as “Old Town Road” did, in part because after a while it’s just about bragging about his success, which on one hand is deserved but on the other feels somewhat pre-emptive considering that this is only his third single post-hitting it big.

Crystal Leww: One of my favorite things about Lil Nas X’s EP last year was that it was very fun and very short, with each song clocking in at under three minutes — like the guy who shows up to the Christmas party for a couple of drinks, tells some truly funny jokes, then bounces to his next stop of the night. “Holiday” is still pretty short but not at all fun, not even in a mildly trainwreck kind of way. The beat is flat and never kicks it up and Lil Nas X delivers all his vocals in monotone. This is the guy who shows up to the Christmas party to talk about how it’s surprising that there hasn’t been any snow this year and to make one culturally out-of-date reference to Michael Jackson before taking off. 

Alfred Soto: Listening to this case study minutes after Simmy and Sun-El’s track proved instructive. The electro beats share DNA and no one will fuck with Nas X’s don’t-give-a-fuck-ness, which he confuses with listlessness.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: If Lil Nas X’s main contributions to the pop music landscape are making the beats for children’s music go much harder and allowing artists to make ridiculous music videos again, that will be enough.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Bless Lil Nas X for the way he obliterates the fourth wall in this delectable trifle of song. “Holiday” is littered with clever references to his own persona: from the not-so-subtle references to topping and bottoming, to the need-to-do-a-double-take Nicki Minaj Easter egg, to the brazen line, “I pulled a gimmick, I admit it, I got no remorse.” Lil Nas X doesn’t mince words when addressing his stardom: “Pop star, but the rappers still respect me.” Few artists are able to craft their own narratives so well and so directly — let alone doing it while bringing pop-trap-holiday music to the masses. 

Thomas Inskeep: I’m happy if he gets the line “I may bottom on the low, but I top shit” on top 40 radio, but, boy, this song is one big ball o’ nothin’. The beat is barely serviceable, and LNX has zero to say. (And what he says, he says in a monotone.) I assumed he’d never hit the highs of “Old Town Road” again, but I didn’t expect him to crash and burn this hard, this soon.

Reader average: [6.66] (3 votes)

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12 Responses to “Lil Nas X – Holiday”

  1. Welcome to the site, Austin!

  2. Yeah welcome austin!! Excellent first blurb.

  3. Thanks so much, Ian and Joshua! Glad to join you guys on the other side of the comment line :)

  4. ONE OF US
    welcome Austin

  5. A delight, Austin. Welcome.

  6. A pleasure to have my words here, Alfred.

  7. Also, HOW AM I MISSING ALL OF THESE jewioavjdszx; thank you as well Jessica !!!

  8. welcome!!

  9. Thank you, Katherine!

  10. Welcome to the team Austin. And now that I have said your name, you can never leave. Never. AHAHAHAHAHA-

  11. Thank…you, Nortey? That went from :) to O_O a little too quick

  12. amazing blurbs everyone!!!

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