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Machine Gun Kelly - Tickets To My Downfall

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Tickets To My Downfall

Machine Gun Kelly

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Though his 2019 album Hotel Diablo mostly continued the commercial rap style that made Machine Gun Kelly famous, the record closed with "I Think I'm Okay," a melodic rock song featuring guest appearances from U.K. vocalist YUNGBLUD and blink-182's Travis Barker. The catchy tune injected Machine Gun Kelly's emotionally raw lyricism into a template of spirited guitar-driven pop-punk and it became a huge hit. For fifth album Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly commits fully to the pop-punk style that was hinted at with "I Think I'm Okay," making a bold-faced turn from moody rap songs to blasts of distorted guitar, uptempo drums, and vocal harmonies right out of the early-2000s mall punk playbook. Travis Barker is again a frequent collaborator, producing the album as well as contributing drums and occasionally co-writing some songs. This direct association might be part of why Tickets to My Downfall sounds inarguably enamored with blink-182, with songs like "Bloody Valentine," pained ballad "Play This When I'm Gone," and the explosive "Title Track" following blink's blueprint of straightforward melodies, huge hooks, and cathartic choruses. The rap elements of the past aren't completely scrubbed clean, with trap drums added to the mix of tunes like "Drunk Face," and cameo appearances from rappers like Trippie Redd and Blackbear. Even still, when Trippie Redd shows up on "All I Know," he's not rapping as much as singing some melodic lines that play nicely with the emo-rock format of the song. The themes of self-destruction, tainted romance, and struggles with depression that were often visited on Machine Gun Kelly's earlier material translate seamlessly from tormented rap to heart-aching pop-punk. Songs like the lovelorn and dramatic "My Ex's Best Friend" might have a delivery that's worlds away from the brooding rap he's known for, but he's still singing about the same problems as always. The profound stylistic upset of Tickets to My Downfall will leave some listeners flat, simply because what they enjoyed about Machine Gun Kelly as a rapper might be harder to find in his pop-punk songs. For those willing to come along for the ride, the album serves as a sincere and somewhat nostalgic embrace of pop-punk from the Myspace era. Machine Gun Kelly's personality is still at the heart of every song, even when trading 808 beats for crunchy guitar riffs. While some songs are more interesting than others and some tend too close to blink-182 worship, Tickets to My Downfall succeeds more than it falters. While it would rank as a slightly above average album for any given pop-punk band, there's an added excitement in how risky this about-face is for a multi-platinum artist who could have easily turned in the same record he made last time.
© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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Tickets To My Downfall

Machine Gun Kelly

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1
title track
00:02:46

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Keyboards, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Producer, Co-Producer, MainArtist - Colson Baker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Hammond Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Co-Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

2
kiss kiss
00:02:17

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Hammond Organ, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Co-Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

3
drunk face
00:02:23

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Producer, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Mira, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

4
bloody valentine
00:03:25

Neal Avron, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Colin Leonard, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Scott Skrzynski, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nicholas Alex Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Derek Ryan Smith, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

5
forget me too
00:02:51

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Halsey, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Co-Producer, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

6
all I know
00:02:08

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Bailey, ComposerLyricist - Roger Freeman, ComposerLyricist - Ibarra, ComposerLyricist - Nick Long, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jesse Michaels, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Timothy Armstrong, ComposerLyricist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Nicholas Alex Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Aldae, ComposerLyricist - David Mello, ComposerLyricist - Andrew DeCaro, ComposerLyricist - Trippie Redd, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Co-Producer, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Michael White IV, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

7
lonely
00:03:10

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Producer, Co-Producer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

8
WWIII
00:00:59

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

9
kevin and barracuda interlude
00:01:23

Pete Davidson, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

10
concert for aliens
00:02:39

Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Colin Leonard, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Nicholas Alex Long, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

11
my ex's best friend
00:02:18

John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Colin Leonard, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Matthew Musto, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - blackbear, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - slimXX, Producer, Additional Producer - Omer Fedi, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - BazeXX, Producer, Additional Producer

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

12
jawbreaker
00:01:57

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Kevin Bivona, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

13
nothing inside
00:02:52

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Drum Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Nicholas Alex Long, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Omer Fedi, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Co-Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - iann dior, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Ian Olmo, ComposerLyricist - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - 24k Golden, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

14
banyan tree interlude
00:01:30

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Travis Barker, Producer, Bass, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, MainArtist - Keith Varon, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Megan Fox, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

15
play this when i'm gone
00:03:22

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Hawkins, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Long, ComposerLyricist - Travis Barker, Producer, Piano, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jared Scharff, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Machine Gun Kelly, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jackson Morgan, ComposerLyricist - Colson Baker, ComposerLyricist - Johan Lenox, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - K Thrash, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2020 Bad Boy/Interscope Records

Album Description

Though his 2019 album Hotel Diablo mostly continued the commercial rap style that made Machine Gun Kelly famous, the record closed with "I Think I'm Okay," a melodic rock song featuring guest appearances from U.K. vocalist YUNGBLUD and blink-182's Travis Barker. The catchy tune injected Machine Gun Kelly's emotionally raw lyricism into a template of spirited guitar-driven pop-punk and it became a huge hit. For fifth album Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly commits fully to the pop-punk style that was hinted at with "I Think I'm Okay," making a bold-faced turn from moody rap songs to blasts of distorted guitar, uptempo drums, and vocal harmonies right out of the early-2000s mall punk playbook. Travis Barker is again a frequent collaborator, producing the album as well as contributing drums and occasionally co-writing some songs. This direct association might be part of why Tickets to My Downfall sounds inarguably enamored with blink-182, with songs like "Bloody Valentine," pained ballad "Play This When I'm Gone," and the explosive "Title Track" following blink's blueprint of straightforward melodies, huge hooks, and cathartic choruses. The rap elements of the past aren't completely scrubbed clean, with trap drums added to the mix of tunes like "Drunk Face," and cameo appearances from rappers like Trippie Redd and Blackbear. Even still, when Trippie Redd shows up on "All I Know," he's not rapping as much as singing some melodic lines that play nicely with the emo-rock format of the song. The themes of self-destruction, tainted romance, and struggles with depression that were often visited on Machine Gun Kelly's earlier material translate seamlessly from tormented rap to heart-aching pop-punk. Songs like the lovelorn and dramatic "My Ex's Best Friend" might have a delivery that's worlds away from the brooding rap he's known for, but he's still singing about the same problems as always. The profound stylistic upset of Tickets to My Downfall will leave some listeners flat, simply because what they enjoyed about Machine Gun Kelly as a rapper might be harder to find in his pop-punk songs. For those willing to come along for the ride, the album serves as a sincere and somewhat nostalgic embrace of pop-punk from the Myspace era. Machine Gun Kelly's personality is still at the heart of every song, even when trading 808 beats for crunchy guitar riffs. While some songs are more interesting than others and some tend too close to blink-182 worship, Tickets to My Downfall succeeds more than it falters. While it would rank as a slightly above average album for any given pop-punk band, there's an added excitement in how risky this about-face is for a multi-platinum artist who could have easily turned in the same record he made last time.
© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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