Machine Gun Kelly sidestepped from his successful rap career to a pop-punk career backed by none other than Blink 182’s Travis Barker. Kelly's latest album, Tickets to My Downfall, debuted on September 25th and is different from anything we’ve ever heard from the artist before. But did we just buy our ticket to his musical downfall?
The album begins with “title track,” MGK’s upbeat and high-energy introduction to the pop-punk world. It starts off slow with a mellow guitar riff and classically sad punk lyrics. But then, like the flip of a switch, the melody picks up, the drums kick in and suddenly every listener is singing along, “I’m selling tickets to my downfall.” Just like that, Kelly demonstrates a new side of him, with fifteen songs for fans to explore. Though not every song maintains the addictive, head-banging hook from “title track,” MGK begins to show more of his musical versatility. The majority of the remaining tracks begin with slower guitar riffs and soft rock drums with remnants of a trap beat. The album features artists like Trippie Redd, blackbear, and iann dior, further bridging Kelly's old relationship with rap and new relationship with pop-punk. Though it isn’t the majority of the album, MGK provides some songs that give the full head-banging, cinematic experience, similar to “title track.” Fast-paced, high energy songs like “forget me too” featuring Halsey, “WWIII,” and “concert for aliens” show the full side of Kelly's new musical venture. This album is ripe with a combination of punk tempos and prominent, catchy pop melodies, weaving new and old together. Within a minute of each song playing, listeners are guaranteed to sing along.
With the fusion of slow, melodic trap and slashing punk, the album presents a classic pop-punk sound with a hint of MGK’s rap past. We’re addicted to this mixture and are dying to hear more. We’ll give this new sound a 10/10 on the Intersect 1-10 rating scale as long as we get to hear some more of what Kelly is offering.
Pop-punk would be nothing without phenomenal vocal ranges from its artists, which Tickets to My Downfall lacks. Kelly has yet to feature much of a broad vocal range in this album, which hasn't been an issue in his past. With this sidestep into a new genre, his vocals must adapt. MGK demonstrates a pretty basic range compared to most punk artists, and though we still love his raspy, rocker style vocals, we’re itching to hear more. Even his featured artists, Halsey and blackbear to be specific, highlight broader ranges with their adlibs and harmonies. Their addition to the album helps solidify the classic pop-punk sound that Kelly promises. Looking towards the next album, we’re keeping our eyes and ears out for classic pop-punk vocals. No more keeping it mellow. For now, we’re giving Machine Gun Kelly’s vocals a 6/10 on the Intersect 1-10 rating scale.
THE ART BEHIND THE ALBUM:
Machine Gun Kelly changes his approach to love and relationships in Tickets To My Downfall. While he doesn't seem optimistic towards the subject, MGK has opened himself up to the discussion of love. As Kelly begins to unveil this new side of himself, he is reintroducing himself to listeners and fans. We haven’t said goodbye to the rapper, but we are welcoming this new side of him.
The album’s name could reference anything, but we can't neglect the spiral that love is. So, as listeners tuning into MGK’s outpour of love, are we truly buying tickets to his fall down the rabbit hole? His most melancholic tracks, “play this when I’m gone” and “lonely” potentially branch out into two types of love: familial and romantic. With the passing of his father, Kelly discusses their history, both together and separately. The raw, uncovered emotions, paired with MGK’s new pop-punk stylings create the perfect storm of emotions for listeners. By opening up himself as a person and as an artist in these two new forms, Kelly has created an unforgettable connection with his listeners.
MGK continues to open himself up to listeners towards the end of the album. “play this when i’m gone” holds the most melancholic feeling. The song opens with a fingerpicking guitar riff and a farewell message. He referenced the song in a tweet saying, “wrote her a song so i won’t have any regrets if my time comes.” Though the song is speculated to be about his current girlfriend, Megan Fox, Kelly announced in December 2019 that the song references his daughter Casie. He expresses his inundation by society and sobriety, hoping to convey the sense that there can be a forever in nothing. MGK states, “I think it’s time for me to leave, but I’ll never leave you.” These lyrics haunt listeners as tears well up in their eyes. As the last track on the album, listeners catch their final glimpse of Kelly in his deepest, most vulnerable moments. He reveals the true beauty in love, the real downfall of the album. Sometimes, when you have to go, you have to leave people behind who still need you. But if you stay, do you remain the same person, strung out, fighting with sobriety and society? MGK leaves us soul-searching at the end of "play this when i'm gone."
As the raspy, punk cries of “I miss you” flood over the listeners, Kelly becomes a new artist. Personally, his new outlook on life is refreshingly honest and open. So, I say hello to the pop-punk artist Machine Gun Kelly. We rate the beauty of “Tickets To My Downfall” with a 10/10 on the Intersect 1-10 rating scale.
MY TOP TRACKS ON THE ALBUM:
title track, forget me too (feat. Halsey,) play this when i'm gone
APPLE MUSIC'S TOP TRACKS ON THE ALBUM:
my ex's best friend (feat. blackbear,) forget me too (feat. Halsey,) bloody valentine, drunk face
Overall, we’re in love with this side of Machine Gun Kelly, though we’re hoping he’s just getting started. “Tickets To My Downfall” is rated 9/10 on the Intersect rating scale. Listen to the album now below.