What’s the point of Machine Gun Kelly?

Peter O'Neill

Machine Gun Kelly came into public consciousness after his ill-fated diss track towards Eminem, Rap Devil. Considering the profiles of the two rappers and skill, you’d have to wonder, why would he bother?

Most likely publicity. Outside of the United States, and sometimes in, few people have heard of him.

Since then he or his management have probably realised that despite the publicity, what credibility the rapper had was probably shot by Eminem’s chart-topping response, “Killshot”. This has led to his music taking a completely new direction towards pop-punk, with his new album embracing the genre fully.

Unfortunately, it’s less embracing and more co-opting, really. There is nothing original about what he’s doing, and the genre switch after a PR nightmare feels nothing short of cynical.

Pop-Punk is a genre that usually only works if there’s something at least slightly earnest and genuine behind it. Even if it’s sometimes not entirely true, bands that previously had success in the genre such as Green Day, Blink-182 or Paramore, at least conjured the image of a group of friends playing in a band together who somehow made it big.

Machine Gun Kelly never earned his chops on the road in a band. Instead, his label got Travis Barker to drum all over his album and for expensive writers to imitate bands that earned their success.

The vocals on the new album, “Ticket to my Downfall”, could be done by anyone with an autotune available, and the lyrics are derivative and boring, even for a genre that excels when it’s simple yet poetic. When you make simple music, there has to be something more. There just isn’t anything here.

This is all whilst also being a 30-year-old former rapper talking about youth, and never growing up. If you’re someone who can make music good enough for people to ignore all of this, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Again though, Kelly can’t do this. This is McDonald’s pop-punk, and when the likes of Busted and 5 Seconds of Summer have previously existed, that’s saying something.

Please let this actually be a “Ticket to His Downfall”.