Machine Gun Kelly is continuing to evolve. The 30 year old’s newly released album Tickets to My Downfall is like the musical diary of a young man graduating into full-fledged adulthood. Somewhat ironic is the sound: an updated version of early 2000’s pop-punk, nostalgic of bands like Blink-182 (whose Travis Barker contributed as a producer, drummer and writer on the album). He’s managed to use nostalgia and his roots to work through his late 20’s; the result is a flawless album.
Fans of Machine Gun Kelly (known as Colson Baker) have long associated him with unique song composition and rapidfire, articulate lyrics. These songs are no different, except they’re now backed by pink punk rock guitars and intricate interludes. A myriad of guest artists (including Halsey, Yungblud, Bert McCraken and longtime friend Blackbear) help fine-tune the album’s sound. The extremely punk breakup anthem “Forget Me Too” features Halsey and immediately has you slowly headbanging and missing your plaid pants (and shed a tear for the tumultuous relationships of your youth.)
Also present is a sort of documentation of MGK’s year. The album, written in 2020, covers the recent major events in his life. Tracks like “Lonely” and “Concert for Aliens” touch on his loneliness and disconnection after being stuck in quarantine and the death of his father. A glimpse of his struggle with coming into full adulthood is chronicled in “Drunk Face.” And of course, in the biggest single off of the album, the “Bloody Valentine” video features its real life muse Megan Fox (now publicly dating MGK). Baker also includes several covers produced during lockdown in his home studio: most notably “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna and “Misery Business” by Paramore. Long-time fans can get their MGK rap fix from his “Roll the Windows Up” cover. Regardless of the content each song has its own way of pulling you in and back to the days of an album that includes a little bit of every emotion.
Long-time fans can enjoy this album without worrying they’ll lose his flow; he’s announced on social media that the next album will be hip-hop. For an artist that once described himself as “hip-hop’s Andy Warhol,” there’s no doubt that he’ll continue to amaze us whether returning to his roots or experimenting with a new sound.
Tickets to My Downfall debuted #1 on the US Billboard 200 all-format albums chart (the highest of his career to date). It is the first rock album to top the chart in over a year since Tool released their album Fear Inoculum in 2019.