ALBUM REVIEW: Tickets To My Downfall by Machine Gun Kelly

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WRITTEN BY: Caitlin McGeehan

Machine Gun Kelly dives into pop-punk with his hot pink electric guitar and album Tickets To My Downfall, executively produced by Travis Barker of Blink-182. TTMD debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first #1 album for MGK. 

Through a series of tweets, MGK revealed he would be releasing the deluxe version of TTMD on Wednesday, September 29th, titled Tickets to my Downfall (SOLD OUT Deluxe)

The deluxe edition includes a cover of Paramore’s “Misery Business,” and the heavily anticipated collaboration “body bag” with YUNGBLUD and Bert McCracken of The Used. The rapper has been teasing this collab since his previous song with YUNGBLUD (“I Think I’m OKAY”) last year. The song was a last-minute addition, with Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz giving their approval the night before the deluxe album’s release day, as the song has a resemblance of their hit “Dance, Dance.” 

The Cleveland rapper has been associated with the alternative scene in the past with his performances at the staple festival for the pop-punk genre, Warped Tour. So, this crossover was a long time in the making. MGK’s rough and gruff vocal tone throughout the album complements the hard and fast guitars on each track. 

The majority of the album’s tracks clock in under three minutes, continuing the trend of Blink-182’s album tracklists. A few songs off of TTMD follow the pop-punk ‘standard’ through and through, such as the lead single, “bloody valentine,” and “drunk face.”  Throughout their guitar-blasted and catchy choruses, these tracks center around a love interest and rebellion. The album opener, “title track” is a signature pop-punk stripped down ballad at first, reminiscent of All Time Low’s acoustic “Jasey Rae.” Within a second of guitar feedback, “title track” transitions into a hard and fast verse to set the tone for the subsequent tracks. 

However, MGK also strays from the genre’s status-quo of love or rebellion filled melodies, bringing themes he’s addressed in his previous rap albums into TTMD. After all, the title “Tickets To My Downfall” is meant to showcase those previously close to him and the public buying tickets to watch his struggle, and possibly his popularity downfall in making a pop-punk album in 2020. He references depression, the ups and downs of fame, and on “lonely,” the loss of his father. 

The features on the album aren’t all punk-rockers either: the lineup dons Halsey, Trippie Redd, blackbear, and iann dior. “all I know” with Trippie Redd’s feature goes to show how well these features work, mixing a trap beat and guitar to match Trippie’s melodic cadence. Similar to his past albums, MGK includes audio snippets of his friends and family as interludes and intros. This album features audio from his father, his girlfriend Megan Fox, his friend and SNL actor Pete Davidson, and executive producer Travis Barker. 

MGK is injecting new life into pop-punk, and it’s nothing short of epic. 

Track list:

  1. title track
  2. kiss kiss
  3. drunk face
  4. bloody valentine
  5. forget me too feat. Halsey
  6. all I know feat. Trippie Redd
  7. lonely
  8. WWIII
  9. kevin and barracuda interlude
  10. concert for aliens
  11. my ex’s best friend feat. blackbear
  12. jawbreaker
  13. nothing inside feat. iann dior
  14. bayan tree interlude
  15. play this when i’m gone

Bonus Tracks

  1. body bag feat. YUNGBLUD & Bert McCracken of The Used 
  2. hangover cure
  3. split a pill 
  4. can’t look back
  5. misery business
  6. bloody valentine – acoustic edit

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