‘I just want to go against what everyone else thinks’: Machine Gun Kelly pivots to pop-punk on ‘Tickets to My Downfall’

Machine Gun Kelly is pivoting.

He’s best known as a rapper but his latest album has a radio-friendly, decidedly pop sound to it. “Tickets to My Downfall” dropped today after being delayed several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kelly had previously hinted he was looking to shake things up, but some fans are likely to be shocked by what they hear.

MGK, who also goes by Colson Baker, pulls the transition off with near perfection, with help from producer Travis Barker of Blink-182. He discussed the shift on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show this week, downplaying its significance.

“I just want to go against what everyone else thinks,” he said. “I make a pop-punk record … and everyone’s like, ‘You switched genres.’ To me, I just added on to the multiple things I’ve already done anyway but, sure, what a narrow-minded way to look at things.”

More:Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly) fires up ‘Project Power,’ but girlfriend Megan Fox can’t watch the role

Love and relationships are a common theme on “Tickets to My Downfall,” Kelly’s fifth studio album. Take these lyrics from “Bloody Valentine,” which won Best Alternative at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards: “In my head, in my head // I’m laying naked with you, yeah // In my head, in my head // I’m ready to die holding your hand.”

That romantic focus isn’t surprising considering his budding relationship with “Transformers” actress Megan Fox. The two first met while filming “Midnight in the Switchgrass.” Kelly announced they were a couple in July, writing “waited for eternity to find you again…”  on Instagram, adding knife and heart emojis.

“After I made the big chunk of the album, I did fall in love for the first time,” Kelly told Stern. “I didn’t know what [love] was until me and her made eye contact. That was my first experience with being open to love and stuff like that. I def

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