Machine Gun Kelly
Tickets to My Downfall


1.5
very poor

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
September 26th, 2020 | 267 replies


Release Date: 09/25/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Now I gotta cock back, aim, yeah, bitch, pop champagne to this.

I’ll admit that before Machine Gun Kelly’s diss-track to Eminem back in 2018, I didn’t have a clue who the guy was. In spite of the fact Eminem obliterated Kelly with his one-and-done retort, in the form of the appropriately titled “Killshot”, “Rap Devil” was still a decent little number that backed up Kelly’s daring efforts. Of course, it wasn’t hard to see that Kelly was brazenly monetising the situation – a snatch-and-grab that saw him milking it for all it was worth before Eminem inevitably – and begrudgingly I might add – crushed the opposition. More to the point, this “feud” afforded Kelly a platform which reached out to a mass of people who were unaware of him prior to this; it provided an auspicious moment for MGK to really prove himself as an artist, and so we got the Binge EP for his efforts. Binge should have been something that solidified his abilities; however, the cynical realisation was it only revealed the clip of Colson’s shallow intentions. This festering bin fire of an EP wasn’t about artistic expression at all, nor was it even about music, it was about monetising an opportunity. The results were a brace of unfinished, generic mumble-rap songs made for one succinct purpose: to bring a wealth of revenue to the table.

In short, since Binge I’ve been of the opinion MGK is a one-dimensional artist, desperately clawing at anything and everything he can to stay relevant in Hollywood. Hotel Diablo was a shade more interesting than the vacant vessel of Binge, but it still continued to highlight his vapid and painfully prosaic writing style. However, now in 2020, MGK unabashedly doubles down and endorses his chicanery with what is sure to be the most cynical and superficial release of the year. Before we delve into the meat and potatoes of this thing let’s get the positives out of the way, since it won’t take long. The production is decent, it’s chunky and despite the fact it has a shameful, plagiaristic perversion for early-00s Blink 182, it captures the mood it’s going for perfectly. Travis Barker’s drumming is as excellent as ever, displaying the gamut of his abilities with furious drum rolls and schizophrenic stylistic shifts that shouldn’t typically work with this style of music but elevate it nevertheless. And, hell, I’m not a complete grouch to overlook the fact its production values bring a certain level of entertainment to the table – on the basis it captures the pop-punk movement of the late-90s and 00s well, and provided you’re able to listen to Tickets to My Downfall without a modicum of awareness while doing it.

However, I’m not here to make excuses for Tickets to My Downfall, in fact I’ll be completely transparent in saying I feel nothing but contempt for this album and everything it stands for. Everything from the awful artwork that has MGK dressed from head to toe in the “How to Pop-Punk” Hot Topic starter kit, to the completely egregious copy-paste of Blink 182’s glory day sound. It’s the pop-punk equivalent to Greta Van Fleet’s soulless imitations of Led Zeppelin, to the point where – like Kelly did embracing Tommy Lee’s character in The Dirt – Kelly thinks he is Tom DeLonge in places here. One aspect that’s particularly irritating is Kelly’s awful, overproduced vocals – “Concert for Aliens” for instance has Kelly groaning in a nasally baritone that’s almost devoid of melody entirely. Tracks persist in offering monotone drawls soaked in auto-tune and go on for an eternity over surface-level, albeit functional pop-punk instrumentals, while a barrage of backing vocals come from all corners of the sonic spectrum to give you Kelly’s best DeLonge impressions. But even if you manage to disregard the terrible, terrible vocal work, the disingenuous lyric writing will eventually whittle your patience down to the wood. Hearing a thirty-year-old flatly snarl “I use a razor to take off the edge, jump off the ledge they said” in the song “Title Track” would be a worthy sticking point to this edgy number, if it didn’t sound so completely artificial and forced in practice. Worse still, when Tickets to My Downfall isn’t trying to be the edge-lord of pop-punk, it’s continuing to paint MGK’s typical mantra of drink and drug problems, as well as a slew of pop-punk clichés about girls… and… and problems and stuff which only reassure and advocate the record’s insincerities.

Yes, the production values are decent, and the help from behind the scenes has almost certainly kept Tickets to My Downfall from turning into something like Corey Feldman’s 2016 masterpiece, but you can only help someone so much. This is proof that you can throw as much money as you want at a project but if you don’t have the minerals to bring something meaningful to the table, you’re wasting your time. MGK has clearly burnt out his time in the rap game and is looking for greener pastures, but reading The Dummies Guide: How to Pop-Punk and reciting every chord progression and melodic sequence that’s been hammered to death this past twenty years (and a lot better), going to Hot Topic, and rubbing shoulders with the genre’s icons won’t bring the recipes needed to make a great album. Ironically, it’s tracks like “My Ex’s Best Friend (with Blackbear)” that bring any semblance of artistry to the table. It’s not a good song by any means, but it does make the effort to experiment and amalgamate pop-punk riffs with his familiar rap sensibilities; the results are rough but it’s easier to digest than a second-rate rapper imitating second-wave pop-punk with the hubris he’s “bringing pop-punk back” when a.) it never left, and b.) it’s being done a million times better elsewhere. Despite its competence musically, Tickets to My Downfall’s cookie-cutter, antiquated presentation and MGK’s blatant ignorance make it a truly punishing experience to sit through. Punk by definition is supposed to be something that comes straight from the heart in all its raw ugliness, but this album is the anthesis of that and doesn’t even try to hide its overt shallowness. Tickets to My Downfall is a hollow corporate cut-out that rests on the shoulders of giants who perfected this style fifteen-or-so years ago and is ultimately a complete farce that’s best forgotten about.

FORMAT//EDITIONS:
DIGITAL//CD//VINYL

UNBOXING VIDEO
N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES:
NONE

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://machinegunkelly.manheadmerch.com/



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user ratings (115)
2.4
average
other reviews of this album
resident shit music stan (2.5)
pop punk demon...



Comments:Add a Comment 
SPRFanOf5H
September 26th 2020


871 Comments


Will the rappers turning to alternative trend ever come to an end? Seems to me it’s been nothing but a joke so far, though I admit, I liked “Bloody Valentine” from this.

MGK, Logic, G-Eazy, who’s gonna be next?

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 26th 2020


36098 Comments


Careful Gonz MGK is gonna write a diss track about you next

Lovely review btw

Digging: Sam Amidon - Sam Amidon

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


1609 Comments


i've said it before, props to anyone who could stand listening to more than 2 songs from this. great read though, love that he's called colson lmao

Digging: Seaway - Big Vibe

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2020


1609 Comments


also
" "If I were a Painter I'd be a Depressionist"

Dudde..... WHAT A LINE!! "
- the youtube comment section for title track

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 26th 2020


36098 Comments


That sounds like a bad dad joke lol

Sinternet
September 26th 2020


23235 Comments


i mean he was big before the eminem diss, bad things was a big single and he had some positive underground reputation around 2012ish, but i agree he's been trying to milk it for all its worth

shame, he was never very good but he was at least like his own thing back in the day

Digging: Holy Fawn - Death Spells

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 26th 2020


36098 Comments


Yeah I first (and last) heard him on Bad Things. Okay pop song but I don't think I'd want a full album of this guy ever.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks guys, always appreciated.



Yeah, obviously after a bit of research when I first heard about him I learned he had a decent following but he definitely garnered more from the “feud”. The only good thing that came from that was Eminem releasing “killshot” which is legitimately the best thing he’s done in nearly twenty years lol, he annihilates MGK haha

Digging: HEALTH - DISCO4 :: Part I

SymbolicInTime
September 26th 2020


6659 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Credit where it's due, I actually enjoyed Forget Me Too. Halsey's feature just absolutely rules. Now I want her fronting a pop punk band lol.





DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The Halsey feat was fucking horrible imo lmao I think my eyes rolled round the back of my head when I first heard it

Danred97
September 26th 2020


2542 Comments


I actually quite like this album. It is not perfect by any means and has a decent chunk of filler, but the highlights make up for it. Bloody Valentine and Forget Me Too are amazing and tracks like Concert For Aliens are fun bops. It is not revolutionary, but for as bad as it could have been, I was impressed. Overall a well made and fun record

m4j3stiq
September 26th 2020


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It’s difficult to describe why this might not be that bad.

Colton
September 26th 2020


4320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

cause it is

JoyfulPlatypus
September 26th 2020


199 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I'd be down for so much more of this - including the Halsey feature - if so many of the vocals weren't so damn overproduced. Also the guy just doesn't know how to write for pop-punk it seems.

Digging: Bring Me the Horizon - Post Human: Survival Horror

m4j3stiq
September 26th 2020


154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Look, I didn’t skip a single track during the play through and I’ve never been able to make it through a MGK album without skipping’.The lyrics seem more suited for younger listeners sure, but it’s better than “ass and hoes” so that’s worth crediting. It’s also worth noting that I’m curiously interested in the progression of “Rap Devil”s sound️ and I thought it would be worse.



Without criticizing every technical aspect to this and the history about rap devil etc like in the review. I just gave it a listen and ended up with a:



Hmm, not terrible.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

He doesn’t know how to write rap music either

Sinternet
September 26th 2020


23235 Comments


The lyrics seem more suited for younger listeners sure, but it’s better than “ass and hoes” so that’s worth crediting.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
September 26th 2020


60685 Comments


rAp MuSiC

Digging: Oklou - Galore

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

my gut's telling me you'll love this pots

Colton
September 26th 2020


4320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"[Verse 1]

Okay

Get me out of this house and get me out of my head

Get me a drink and cigarette

I just need to go out 'cause I can sleep when I'm dead

Drop me off at The Rox on Sunset



[Pre-Chorus]

Hey, you

Same time and the same place

We can get shitfaced, yeah, yeah

Hey, you

There's a lot that I wanna say

But that's for another day, okay"







yeah I'd rather have ass and hoes



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