Tickets To My Downfall Sounds Familiar……But Fun

I have never been a HUGE fan of rap music. That statement will be surprising to…absolutely no one. So when Machine Gun Kelly inched his way into the scene, I never really gave his music much of a chance. However, in the last year, the increased popularity of TikTok and the artist’s collabs with newcomers I am excited about (Yungblud, blackbear) it was difficult not to be inundated with MGK’s sharp left turn into the pop-punk genre.

I was immediately intrigued by his genre switch, and really loved my ex’s best friend collab with blackbear but I was most interested in the new close bond he’d seemingly found with Travis Barker. A pop-punk staple for years, Barker has been known to breathe new life into punk tracks, with his decades of producing skills, so when I heard they were collabing on MGK’s fifth studio album, I had to at least give it a listen.

Overall, Tickets To My Downfall is a fun ride. It stretches every early 2000s rebellious muscle that may have been covered in dust for the past decade. Songs like bloody valentine and title track pack the lust for life punch that keeps your head moving whether you like it or not. Slower tracks like lonely and play this when i’m gone show vulnerability that is highly relatable, touching on topics like addiction and toxic relationships that have been sought after in the scene for years.

Another standout track for me was “forget me too” featuring Halsey. His lyrics, that are somewhat clunky in previous songs really tighten up and Halsey’s vocals really match his grit, playing off of each other easily.

However, I feel like the record fell a little short for me, not really building upon anything the genre hasn’t ever seen before.

Barker’s influence is clear, some songs even cloning the majority of the group’s vocal and instrumental breakdowns (also the drums on tickets to my downfall? dead giveaway). I think that due to the songs’ close nature to others in the genre, long-time pop-punk fans who are continuously itching for innovation in the genre may be a tad disappointed. However, I do think that there are a few unique gems that piqued my interest in MGK’s future in the scene.

The song All I know with Trippie Redd may have been the first pop-punk/rap collab in a while for me that hasn’t sounded like the genres are colliding at extreme lengths. It also stands out as a different approach to bridging these two genres, separating itself from the popular emo-rap artists like Lil Peep and Post Malone, and leaning more heavily on the upbeat, aggressive grit of punk music. I think that this collab allowed Trippie to play off of MGK, instead of pasting himself in an overtly obvious way, making the track sonically smooth.

MGK also toys around with trap sounds in the song nothing inside, an element that I was unsure of on the first time through, but leaned into more and more with each following listen. I think that this punk/rap collision could set him apart from many current pop-punk artists if he continues to intertwine the genres.

It’s clear that Colson had a ton of fun creating this album, especially when you listen to the interludes, the one with his good friend Pete Davidson and the somber but short but sweet track banyon tree with his girlfriend, Megan Fox. Honestly, I had fun too. I don’t think that Tickets To My Downfall was a bad first step into the punk world. Given the chance, I believe that he could build upon his punk image, and create a small subsection for himself, and push our beloved pop-punk more into the mainstream again. I’m excited to see what this step means for him in terms of future projects. (Also, include the Yungblud tracks on the actual record next time pls)

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I like music and shouting my opinions. So, I’m sorry in advance.

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