From Machine Gun Kelly’s high-profile relationship with Megan Fox to the release of his highly anticipated fifth studio album, the rapper/singer has attracted more attention than ever.
Tickets To My Downfall dropped on September 25th and in its first night on Spotify, the album amassed 132 million streams.
The Cleveland musician, 30, was a fan of pop-punk heavy hitters growing up, including Green Day and Blink 182. However, earlier in his career he was drawn to hip-hop and rap music.
On his first four records, MGK rapped about his drug habits, which he discussed in past interviews, including a 2019 cover feature for GQ where the singer went into detail about his struggles with painkillers.
As he grew as a musician, his sound evolved and he began to feature heavier guitar parts and hard rock drums, successfully combining the two genres that shaped him.
Tickets To My Downfall sees MGK take a leap of faith by stepping fully into the realm of pop-punk music, creating a record that transports listeners to a sweaty day spent at the Vans Warped Tour circa 2005.
In a cover story with Kerrang in mid-September, MGK explained that he “would like to normalize how we think about doing multiple types of music.” He said, “I didn’t ‘switch genres’; I’m versatile, and the wall isn’t boxed in.”
The ‘Bloody Valentine’ singer continued, “I would like to send good energy and appreciation to people doing things that go against what is an imaginary box that someone too scared to break out of puts around you.”
The parallels between the emo subculture and rappers, including Iann Dior, Post Malone and Mac Miller, have been acknowledged not only by music journalists but also by fans of artists that fall under both categories.
Another genre that takes inspiration from pop-punk is emo-rap, with big-name SoundCloud rappers who received mainstream recognition, including the late Lil Peep and Trippie Red (who features on Tickets To My Downfall).
With the release of Tickets To My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly bridges the gap between the genres and welcomes new fans.
The genre received critical acclaim with acts including Fall Out Boy, All-American Rejects and My Chemical Romance breaking into the mainstream and creating a subculture of emo/scene kids who loved this emotionally charged pop meets rock.
Like most trends, the vast acceptance of this type of alternative music dissipated and many of the biggest bands, like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, went on hiatus for extended periods of time.
While these bands stopped being played on the radio, that didn’t mean the genre disappeared.
While these newer bands have seen success within their bubble, they’ve been unable to break into the mainstream world in the same way that their predecessors like Blink 182 and Paramore were able to.
The singer first dipped his toe into the pop-punk waters in 2019 by collaborating on his song “I Think I’m OKAY” with Doncaster based pop-punk singer Yungblud. This song garnered MGK his first-ever Billboard Music Awards nomination.
Following suit the music video for his first single off of Tickets To My Downfall, ‘Bloody Valentine’, won the singer a moon man at the MTV music video awards. The video featured his then rumored girlfriend, actress Megan Fox.
Tickets To My Downfall is on track to getting MGK his first-ever Billboard #1 record. NME even gave the record 4 out of 5 stars even after calling pop-punk “the least cool genre ever.”
Tickets To My Downfall is a very clear love letter to pop-punk music of the past. The deluxe edition of the record even features a song called ‘body bag’ that not only samples ‘Dance, Dance’ by Fall Out Boy, but also features vocals by scene legend Bert McCracken of The Used as well as newcomer Yungblud.
Machine Gun Kelly’s record feels like the glory days of pop-punk, with powerful and meaningful lyrics, fast-paced guitar riffs and wild drums.
While MGK has released pop-punk inspired music over the years, this is the first time he’s truly embraced the genre - and the response shows that his fans, and fans of the genre, are more than ready for its comeback.