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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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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Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 5, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 5, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 31, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 17, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 5, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

Death hangs over everything on Hotel Diablo, rapper/actor Machine Gun Kelly's fourth and most well-executed artistic statement to date. Less aggressive than the 2018 trap EP Binge and more pop-savvy than 2017 predecessor Bloom, Hotel Diablo presents Kelly's melding of rap and rock in seamless fashion with balance and finesse. Tortured and introspective, the melodic and genre-fluid set examines childhood trauma, the perils of fame, the demons that continue to haunt him, and creeping mortality. Analyzing his own fast-living lifestyle, he also invokes the spirits of his late friends and contemporaries Nipsey Hussle, Lil Peep, Mac Miller, and Chester Bennington, whose influence looms largest, especially on the Linkin Park-channeling highlight "Hollywood Whore." Clocking in at under 40 minutes, Hotel Diablo is a brisk listen and rarely lags (a pair of comedy interludes halt the momentum somewhat, but they are fortunately short), jumping from the funky, synth-washed intro, "Sex Drive," to aggressive bangers "El Diablo," "Floor 13," and "Roulette." Proving his past hits with female foils weren't just flukes, he recruits guests Naomi Wild, Phem, and Madison Love on a triplet of introspective standouts that delve into suicide, depression, broken relationships, and self-doubt. Much like "Bad Things" and "Home," the vocal interplay amplifies the dramatic depth of his lyrics and helps balance with the more aggressive rap tracks. Of those, Lil Skies provides ample support on the "Sicko Mode"-esque romp "Burning Memories," while Trippie Redd is forced to reflect on his own substance intake with a particularly angsty Kelly on the pained "Candy." Throughout, Kelly drops a guitar lick in here and there, but it's not until album closer "I Think I'm OKAY" that he truly captures the rap-rock marriage that he's been chasing for years. Along with English upstart Yungblud and drummer Travis Barker, Kelly delivers a bouncy rock blast that hints at exciting new directions. With such variation and conviction, Hotel Diablo is a highly enjoyable piece of cathartic release, a peak in Machine Gun Kelly's catalog. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 5, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

Death hangs over everything on Hotel Diablo, rapper/actor Machine Gun Kelly's fourth and most well-executed artistic statement to date. Less aggressive than the 2018 trap EP Binge and more pop-savvy than 2017 predecessor Bloom, Hotel Diablo presents Kelly's melding of rap and rock in seamless fashion with balance and finesse. Tortured and introspective, the melodic and genre-fluid set examines childhood trauma, the perils of fame, the demons that continue to haunt him, and creeping mortality. Analyzing his own fast-living lifestyle, he also invokes the spirits of his late friends and contemporaries Nipsey Hussle, Lil Peep, Mac Miller, and Chester Bennington, whose influence looms largest, especially on the Linkin Park-channeling highlight "Hollywood Whore." Clocking in at under 40 minutes, Hotel Diablo is a brisk listen and rarely lags (a pair of comedy interludes halt the momentum somewhat, but they are fortunately short), jumping from the funky, synth-washed intro, "Sex Drive," to aggressive bangers "El Diablo," "Floor 13," and "Roulette." Proving his past hits with female foils weren't just flukes, he recruits guests Naomi Wild, Phem, and Madison Love on a triplet of introspective standouts that delve into suicide, depression, broken relationships, and self-doubt. Much like "Bad Things" and "Home," the vocal interplay amplifies the dramatic depth of his lyrics and helps balance with the more aggressive rap tracks. Of those, Lil Skies provides ample support on the "Sicko Mode"-esque romp "Burning Memories," while Trippie Redd is forced to reflect on his own substance intake with a particularly angsty Kelly on the pained "Candy." Throughout, Kelly drops a guitar lick in here and there, but it's not until album closer "I Think I'm OKAY" that he truly captures the rap-rock marriage that he's been chasing for years. Along with English upstart Yungblud and drummer Travis Barker, Kelly delivers a bouncy rock blast that hints at exciting new directions. With such variation and conviction, Hotel Diablo is a highly enjoyable piece of cathartic release, a peak in Machine Gun Kelly's catalog. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo