2000’s Angsty Punk: The One-Way Ticket to My Own Downfall

3 min read

Kat Namon ’22

Managing Editor

It is with great hesitancy that I write this article reviewing Machine Gun Kelly’s newest album, Tickets to My Downfall, for I fear that I will be judged for genuinely liking this very sad rapper’s work. However, I feel as though I get a pass because he has proven to be very genre-confused, and should really just stick to what he was born to do. His calling is reviving the 2000’s era of pop punk that was so well executed by our favorites like All Time Low, Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Blink 182, and so on. Why does this music appeal to the masses? Great guitar riffs, angsty lyrics, and an attitude that screams “I hate authority and I love sex and drugs.” 

MGK dropped a few singles from the album over the summer, including “Bloody Valentine” and “My Ex’s Bestfriend feat. Blackbear.” I would be lying if I said “Bloody Valentine” didn’t get me through the second half of quarantine, and I’d also be lying if I said I don’t have a conspiracy theory about how it’s a reference to the song that plays during the credits of the film Jennifer’s Body (“Toxic Valentine” by All Time Low for all of you uneducated swine out there). This theory would also make complete sense, since the rapper/pop-punk protege recently started dating Jennifer Check herself, Ms. Megan Fox.  

Kelly’s track “Concert For Aliens”, which he also released an equally entertaining music video for, could very well be an homage to Blink 182’s 1999 song “Aliens Exist,” as it was also co-written by the band’s former member Travis Barker (who produced the album alongside MGK). The strong point of this song was definitely the guitar and drums, since the lyrics were a little too cliché teenage-angst, even for me (which says a lot). However, Barker and Kelly managed to pull out a hit album with this compilation of soft rock ballads, as it debuted at number one on the Top Rock Albums Chart upon release. If this isn’t enough of a reason to get MGK to stop rapping, then I don’t know if he ever will.  

“Forget Me Too feat. Halsey” is definitely a gem of this album. This song is made ten times better by the fact that the two dated back in 2017 and were able to craft a track that gives off angry, scorned-women vibes. This is definitely a good tune to put on if you really feel like sitting around in your own self-pity. I mean this in the best way, because sometimes that’s the kind of music we all need. It also makes you feel pretty powerful if you’re walking around campus with your headphones in. No one has to know you’re listening to MGK and Halsey, only you do, and it’ll definitely make you feel a little more badass (just try it, trust me).  

Say what you want about this contested artist, I think he has fully realized his potential as an artist with this pop-punk revival. Do we owe Ms. Fox thanks for influencing him with her 2000’s icon magic? Yes, I think we do. 


Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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