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‘Tickets to My Downfall’ by Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker: The new pop-punk album from a drumming icon and a former rapper

(Photo Courtesy from Machinegunkelly.com)

Kaliisha Cole
Connector Editor

Pop punk is hitting the music scene in 2020 with the release of “Tickets to My Downfall” by Machine Gun Kelly and Blink-182’s Travis Barker. The album was released on Sept. 25 and has received a lot of attention. This track features 15 raw and energetic songs that will leave cars shaking or blow through one’s eardrums. This album features tons of heart, comedy, reflection and seems to embrace what pop punk is all about.

Kelly and Barker have been friends for some time now and throughout the peak of quarantine, they had been releasing covers of songs together and put out the single “Bloody Valentine” in May of this year. “Bloody Valentine” revealed a new side to Kelly who is better known for his rapping history. This new genre of music goes even further back to the initial reveal of the song “I Think I’m Okay,” which featured both Barker and Yungblud.

The first song in this album is titled “Title Track,” coincidentally enough, and opens the entire album with an acoustic introduction. There is such clever lyricism and musical production, and the collaboration between Kelly and Barker is even more of an incentive to see what this album is all about. “Kiss Kiss” is a literal head banger that will give anyone listening a boost in energy because it commands it. “Drunk Face” reveals a more personal side dealing with the topics of drugs and growing up.

“Bloody Valentine” has more of a studio sound versus how the  rest of the album feels more authentic. It seems awkward in the placement as the fourth track of the album because of how poppy the song sounds. The first of the songs where Kelly and Barker bring in another artist is on track five, which is titled “Forget Me Too” and features Halsey. This track is an immediate favorite because of how both voices seem to meld in this song. One thing that this track reveals however, is how monotone Kelly’s voice sounds. His voice in every song seems as though he is trying to give his voice some range, but it always seems to fall flat. Halsey has such a softer, high-pitched voice that nearly ruins the idea of this song and the whole album. Someone more along the lines of Hayley Williams from Paramore would have fit this song better.

The other collaboration tracks are “All I Know” which features Trippie Redd, “My Ex’s Best Friend,” featuring Blackbear and “Nothing Inside,” featuring Iann Dior. These tracks show a range of styles but work well in this album. The album overall is very charismatic and offers a side to Kelly that no one has seen before. It shows just how talented both he and Barker are. It may be hard for Blink-182 fans to see Barker expanding into different musical interests and working with younger artists, but listening to this album may satisfy fans because each song has that nostalgic Blink-182 vibe that has not been seen for quite some time.

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what moments in his life Kelly refers to in his album, but from what this album gives to listeners is the chance to embrace their inner emo child or give younger generations a piece of music that will allow them to feel freer and enjoy life just a bit more with these songs. It is very risky to branch out of the genre of music that one is known for, but Kelly seems to have made quality music out of something so different. Everyone should buy a ticket to this downfall.

Overall Rating: A-


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