• Darby VanDeVeen

‘Tickets to My Downfall’ Shows Machine Gun Kelly’s Versatility With a Pop-Punk Album

“Primarily guitar-driven songs were reminiscent of pop punk bands from the early 2000s like Blink-182, Sum 41 and more.”

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly (real name Colson Baker) completely switched gears with his fifth studio album and released the pop-punk inspired Tickets to My Downfall. The name for the album comes from his cynical view that at some point, the fans stop rooting for you and start rooting against you.

This shift was a huge success. I’ve never listened to a Machine Gun Kelly project before since I’m not a big rap fan, but hearing about this shift compelled me to listen. Primarily guitar-driven songs were reminiscent of pop punk bands from the early 2000s like Blink-182, Sum 41 and more. Nostalgia definitely played into my enjoyment of the record, since I miss the sound of real instruments in a lot of the music that’s put out nowadays. It’s safe to say I was playing air guitar and banging on an invisible drum set as I listened to the album.

Lyrically, the album is simple, but can pack a punch when it needs to. The closing track, “play this when i’m gone” is a love letter written to Baker’s daughter when he dies. An acoustic guitar backs the track, putting the focus on Baker’s vocals and the emotion behind it. “I hope you get to go to all the places that I showed you/When I was on the road and couldn’t be home to hold you,” he sings in the second verse. Baker’s success comes from his introspection and giving an insight to his innermost thoughts and feelings. The bridge of “concerts for aliens” encapsulates this when Baker sings “I’m insecure, I f*** things up/I’m in too deep, I feel too much.”

One of my favorite tracks from the album was the collaboration with Halsey, “forget me too.” Halsey’s verse reminded me of her track “3am” off of her album Manic, which was the closest we’ve seen Halsey singing something close to rock until this release. The two work together to deliver a duet about searching for closure in a past relationship. Another highlight was the collaboration with blackbear, which brought diversity and modernity to an album that was starting to become repetitive.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this album for now, but outside of this phase, I don’t see a lot of replay value outside of a few key songs (“forget me too” and “bloody valentine” I’m looking at you). But while I’m listening to it, you can find me walking around my neighborhood trying not to put on an entire performance on my air guitar.


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