After his highly successful 2019 album Hotel Diablo, Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly, is back with his rockin’ new album Tickets To My Downfall. But fans are getting a whole new MGK this time, with Kells taking a step back from his familiar rap sound and changing things up by giving us a pop-punk 5th studio album, produced by none other than Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
This completely different vibe for MGK is one that he manages to pull off with utter effortlessness. Musicians that transition into different genres don’t always make the jump so easily, but MGK sounds like he’s always been making this kind of music and fans are here for it! They got a small taste of what the new music would sound like from the last track on Hotel Diablo, in the very popular single ‘I Think I’m OKAY’, featuring YUNGBLUD and, once again, Travis Barker. It’s undeniable to say you can’t see or hear the influence that Barker has had on this new album. MGK’s voice, however, is what really makes this record and takes listeners on a trip down memory lane, back to their awkward teen punk/rock phase that we don’t like to talk about now in 2020. That is what this album is essentially giving fans, a hit of youthful nostalgia and the chance to become an angsty teen again while listening to some sick guitar and drum beats.
I really recommend also listening to Hotel Diablo which is one of my favourite records that MGK has ever released. There are a lot of similarities between it and this new album, even if the genres are worlds apart. One thing that fans adore about MGK’s music is the lyrics. They are their own stories, deeply personal and insightful into Kells mind. In Tickets To My Downfall, we hear about substance abuse, mental illness and suicidal thoughts to bad loves, new loves, and everything in between. MGK’s ability to convey such an overwhelming sense of emotion and feeling is truly why he is such an accomplished and popular artist, no matter what genre we hear the lyrics through.
So without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from the album.
The ‘Title Track’ kicks off the album with a bang, introducing listeners to a new MGK. With a catchy tune, upbeat tempo and Barker’s amazing drum accompaniment, it’s safe to say that you know this album is going to be a hit after the first couple of minutes. It starts off with a lone acoustic guitar and Kells vocals, introducing the beginning of the listener’s journey through the album.
“I sold some tickets/ To come see my downfall/ It sold out in minutes”.MACHINE GUN KELLY – ‘TITLE TRACK’
After a soothing start, Kells then goes on to say “fuck it” and the song explodes into a classic pop-punk tune that slaps listeners right in the face, making you want to jump around your room and scream the lyrics out loud. The music, not just in this song but through the whole album, fills listeners with an adrenaline rush and serotonin boost like no other. However, MGK talks about some pretty serious stuff here, singing in the chorus “I use a razor to take off the edge, “Jump off the ledge,” they said”. The contrast between the upbeat, exhilarating music and the weighty words accompanying them gives listeners a taste of what they can expect from the rest of the album but it also defines him as an artist, a truly gifted one at that.
‘Bloody Valentine’, the fourth track on the album and the first single to appear so far is one of those songs you know that will always be thought of when you hear the name Machine Gun Kelly. Again, a classic pop-punk sound with a catchy chorus that brings all of those nostalgic teen feelings back to the forefront. It will have you smiling in record time! This is one of those infectious tracks that will be a fan favourite at concerts (once they can actually go ahead that is!). I can see it now; the audience jumping, arms raised and shouting at the top of their lungs
Damn, talking about concerts has me all sad now… well, I guess a girl can dream. The music video is out for ‘bloody valentine’ as well, starring MGK’s girlfriend Megan Fox. It takes the title of the track quite literally, with Fox acting as the crazy girlfriend, trying to kill MGK by electrocuting him in a bathtub. It’s a fun video to go with an equally as fun song. Definitely a favourite.
There are some nods to Hotel Diablo in this new album, one of these being the interlude ‘Kevin and Barracuda’. Fans are in love with the bromance that is Machine Gun Kelly and Pete Davidson, a comedy duo when they are together and no doubt friends for life. In Hotel Diablo, MGK also included an interlude titled ‘A Message From The Count’ which is honestly the weirdest yet funniest interlude I’ve heard on an album ever. ‘Kevin and Barracuda’ is just as strange, especially within a tracklist that talks on some emotionally heavy topics like MGK’s difficult relationship with his mother, the passing of his father only a few months ago as well as his struggle with depression. It doesn’t sound like this interlude would fit the album, but surprisingly it’s perfect, and I gladly welcomed laughing out loud the first time I listened through the album. I think we could all use a bit of laughter, don’t you?
‘My Ex’s Best Friend,’ featuring blackbear, is another single from the album and is just as infectious as ‘Bloody Valentine’. Leaning more on the side of pop rather than punk, including some hip hop beats for old times sake, it still highlights the electric guitar and the drumming as the main highlights of the music. Blackbear fits MGK’s sound perfectly and is probably my favourite feature on the record. Other features include Halsey and Trippie Redd who also featured on Hotel Diablo with the single ‘Candy’. ‘My Ex’s Best Friend’ talks about meeting someone and falling for them unintentionally and uncontrollably. MGK repeats in the chorus
“I swear to God, I never fall in love/ Then you showed up and I can’t get enough of it”.MACHINE GUN KELLY FT. BLACKBEAR – ‘MY EX’S BEST FRIEND’
There seems to be a link between a lot of the songs within Tickets To My Downfall in terms of the lyrics. In some way or another, MGK is always referring back to his addiction for something, whether that be a relationship, drugs, drink or a feeling. It ties the album nicely together by doing this, making it feel like one cohesive piece of music rather than stand-alone singles. There’s always a story to be told when it comes to MGK’s records and TTMD is no exception. The music video for this track is also available to watch now!
Lastly, one of my favourites from the whole album has to be the closing track: ‘Play This When I’m Gone’. Coming back with the acoustic guitar and leaving the familiar drum and punk sounds behind, MGK brings listeners a love letter that will melt hearts. Fans assume that this track is dedicated to his twelve year old daughter Casie and Kells sings to comfort her with the lyrics
This track stands out from the rest on the album purely for the drastic change in tempo, beat and sound, once again proving that MGK can make music in all types of genres. In my opinion, this is a perfect ending to Tickets To My Downfall. It feels as if now that Kells has expressed his frustrations, confronted his demons and shared his innermost struggles, he can come to some sort of peace within himself and accept his flaws by wrapping it all up with this beautifully heartfelt track.
Overall, Tickets To My Downfall is a major achievement for Machine Gun Kelly, not only for the fact that he managed to convincingly and successfully change his entire musical presence in one album, but that he gave fans some fantastic tracks to go along with it. These will go down amongst some of MGK’s best songs to date, alongside his well known rap repertoire. But, something tells me that this is just the beginning for MGK and his pop-punk journey, and I, for one, can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
Listen to Tickets To My Downfall now!