Ranking every song on Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker's album: Tickets To My Downfall
Even with my high expectations, Tickets To My Downfall, released September 25, did not let me down. I don’t know if it was the realness of the lyrics, the impressive features, or the overall early 2000’s pop-punk nature, but this is now one of my favorite albums.
Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker have been teasing their album, Tickets To My Downfall for almost a year. With the release date changing over and over again and the first single not being released until May 1 of this year, my anticipation for the album was extremely high. I love a lot of Machine Gun Kelly's older music and I was excited to see what his spin on pop-punk would be like. These songs are rated by how often I would want to listen to them. Some factors I’ve taken into account are musical style, tempo, lyrical relevancy, and general lyricism before ranking them from worst to best.
#13- all I know (feat.Trippie Redd)
I’m not a huge fan of Trippie Redd, but I do like his song Candy with Machine Gun Kelly so I tried to approach this one with an open mind. I will say it’s very catchy with a fun beat, however, it is insanely repetitive. It was so repetitive I was concerned about my audio. After some testing I realized that it is in fact just how the song is supposed to sound. While it will still be on my playlists, the sheer repetition and lack of tone change is what put this song in last place.
WWIII pretty much sums up how I imagine war: angry and loud. The song is only one minute long which would usually be a complaint but in this case it’s almost necessary. The sheer amount of anger makes me want to throw my phone against a brick wall. Listening to this song feels like I’m being yelled at while a sped-up 90s Nickelodeon soundtrack plays in the background.
Hearing lonely is like having a dark cloud swoop in to ruin your sunny day. This song starts off with very chill guitar chords. It tells Machine Gun Kelly’s story of the people who raised him dying and him reflecting on how they’ve affected his life. The chorus is faster, playing into the 90s/early 2000’s trend of depressing upbeat songs. The background vocals that come towards the end give this song an almost gospel vibe, along with the typical pop punk sound of the album. My eyes were wet within 30 seconds of the song starting and by the time it got to the recording of Machine Gun Kelly's dad talking I was fully ugly crying. It’s not necessarily a song I want to listen to regularly, however, it’s perfect if you’re feeling ungrateful for your family or need a good cry.
While jawbreaker is good, it doesn’t have any qualities that stand out. It has more of a typical pop sound than the rest of the album. The lighter, happier catchiness of the track are followed through with a slight lack of sustenance. The edgier pop sound reminds me of 2013 Miley Cyrus.
#9- nothing inside (feat iann dior)
The best word to describe this song is satisfying. It sounds like both Kelly and iann dior are telling stories that are different but relate to each other. The lyrics are very vulnerable but still catchy, although nothing is super unique about it.
#8- kiss kiss
Kiss kiss is one of those songs that you like better the more often you hear it. It’s reminiscent of early 2000’s to early 2010’s Avril Lavigne. The title hints at the catchiness and lightheartedness of this song. The musical interlude after the second chorus leads into an entrancing version of the chorus with echo like background vocals. This is a perfect song to scream at the top of your lungs.
#7- my ex’s best friend (with blackbear)
This song is about a very confusing love triangle (or square?). Machine Gun Kelly talks about someone he’s interested in who is his ex-girlfriend's best friend. He states that this ex is also dating his friend. Definitely a confusing trope, but ultimately brings an interesting song. There’s a super chill beat which is typical for Blackbear songs. Blackbear brings a new perspective to the story and ultimately gives the song more of a calm pop vibe.
#6- bloody valentine
bloody valentine was the first single released off of the album. It’s Machine Gun Kelly’s take on a love song. With his new pop punk sound, the safety net is in the chorus which is very much radio-pop. This song is about growing up and finding love in a not so typical way.
#5- forget me too (feat. Halsey)
Forget me too starts off with a lot of reverb, almost making Machine Gun Kelly sound like he’s talking through a megaphone. This is a song I can imagine hearing on the radio or going viral on TikTok. It has extremely catchy lyrics and exaggerated enunciation. Halsey’s voice fits really well, although the yelling alternative style is different from her usual songs.
#4- drunk face
“I’ll grow up next summer” is the line from drunk face that makes me smile every time I hear it. This is an upbeat song about avoiding responsibility, which probably explains why it’s so relatable. The style reminds me of many of Juice Wrlds songs with a hint of the typical Tickets to My Downfall early 2000’s alternative vibe.
#3- title track
Title track has a slow and calm acoustic beginning which is really interesting and different. It almost sounds like it should be a part of the Shrek soundtrack but in the best way possible. With the chorus comes the drums, a new upbeat tempo, and a continuation of dark lyrics. The next verse returns to a slower and more steady tempo. This song is a little choppy but the vulnerability and desperation shown through the lyricism are what make it one of the best on the album.
#2- play this when i’m gone
I was confused by the beginning of play this when I’m gone- the chill guitar it starts out with is almost reminiscent of early 2000s songs like, Hey There Delilah. I started paying attention to the lyrics and by the time the chorus came I was in tears. play this when I’m gone is Machine Gun Kelly’s gut wrenching suicide note to his daughter. At the very end the words “I miss you” repeat over and over until they finally fade. Despite the depressing nature, Kelly’s heartfelt lyrics and soft music make this song extremely chill and comforting.
#1- concert for aliens
Concert for aliens is an upbeat song about the world falling apart. As soon as it starts Barker brings the Blink-182 to modern pop-punk. The upbeat tempo from the very beginning is carried throughout the entirety of the song. It’s formatted with lines alternating between normal and slightly muted, giving the effect that Machine Gun Kelly is on a phone call. This song discusses the reality of life being imperfect, which is especially relevant amidst the current pandemic.
Even with my high expectations, Tickets To My Downfall did not let me down. I don’t know if it was the realness of the lyrics, the impressive features, or the overall early 2000’s pop-punk nature, but this is now one of my favorite albums. Despite having songs that aren’t necessarily my style (que WWIII), I’ve been listening to the album on repeat and I’m not likely to stop anytime soon.