Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:47 
Genre: Indie

Written by
Becca Carroll

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'Tickets to my Downfall' F_cking Sucks: a list of the worst lyrics off the new MGK album

While I’ll admit this album feels a bit low-impact for the artist, I think it’s only fair to hone in on a song that helps restore this record’s shine. 

Alright, I guess that’s a pretty harsh place to start. Singer/songwriter Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, has had his fair share of Hot Topic-wearing frat star moments, but, all in all, the guy seems like he’s got heart. He made his way in Cleveland as a rapper and rode that wave for much of his career, somehow managing to hold his own within the industry. The problem is, heart can’t change the way my ears experience his latest, Tickets to my Downfall. Streaming this new record was a trip – whether you’re in it for the rap, the pop rock or the punk, you can’t seem to escape the recurring hints that you’re jamming to the inner musings of some troubled, out-of-touch celebrity.  Even with major players in his corner, like Blink 182’s Travis Barker on production and drums, along with features from Bert McCraken of The Used, Halsey, and YUNGBLUD, this record is far from the true ode to early-00’s pop punk that you hear so many claiming it to be. It was only just with this release that Machine Gun made the jump from straight-up hip hop/rap into an act that’s trying to encapsulate that classic 90s-00s pop punk we know all too well – hence the punk rock powerhouses that he’s pulled onto this tracklist.

But Tickets to my Downfall hits about as hard as We the Kings did amongst the classics, but with a looser grasp on melody. MGK’s vocals are indistinct, derivative, and, in general, his style just was not particularly appetizing to me. His apathetic yelling becomes grating over the course of the soundtrack., and although the lyrics do feel like they come from somewhere genuine, they just don’t go very deep… The scenes and feelings he describes are surface level, depicting an emotional spectrum that’s about as wide as his vocabulary. The lyrics are about the only thing comparable to the pop punk we may have listened to in high school – except, even high school Becca wouldn’t have jammed this. This album rubbed me so wrong. I’ve taken the liberty of making a list of the most painful lyrics off this album, since there are few things I love more than making fun of MGK. Enjoy!


“My preacher led me off the precipice (f_ck). If I’m a painter, I’d be a Depressionist.”

A solid gold jumping-off point from the album’s opener, “title track.” First of all, very clever, MGK – second of all, no, that’s not a typo, this was just his choice in grammar. Right off the bat we can see just how little effort went into his new content, this being far from the only grammatical nightmare we’ll run into.  It was a hilariously bad one-liner at first – you know, a ‘ha ha, I get it’ type of funny – but, looking at it now, there’s just nothing funny about this one. 


I’m still young, wasting my youth I’ll grow up next summer I’m back on those drugs I quit I kept my dealer’s number I’m still young, wasting my youth I’ll grow up next summer I’m back on that girl I quit I should’ve lost her number. 

MGK’s lyrics touch on the concept of being young so often to the point where it’s not provacative, it’s just depressing. This track doesn’t have the worst melody, in my opinion, but the relentless references to “youth” and “growing up” aren’t even what actual young people want to hear right now. Kids want to be inspired, not reminded of the things that they’ll be chasing when they’re thirty. 


“I’m overstimulated and I’m sad. I don’t expect you to understand.”

And here we have a lyric touching on another recurring theme: no one understands me. “Overstimulated,” “sad” – your emotions are just too niche for us, MGK.


I got in trouble the first time my dad saw me dance with the devil. How are we so opposite?

Are.. are we reading the same thing right now? I can’t. 


“Get me out of this house and get me out of my head. Get me a drink and cigarette. I just need to go out ’cause I can sleep when I’m dead.”

Love a good “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” reference, but the way MGK keeps harping on his nightlife points to overcompensation, which is never a vibe. The way he’s slipped this phrase in does it no justice considering it’s been used a thousand times, especially in punk. It’s derivative and, well, not good. It’s just not good.


I saw you walk in the room and I tried my best not to panic while I’m lookin’ for the back door. I smelled the perfume and it’s obvious, I’m gonna stay and put my key in the bag more. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t pretend to forget you’re the reason I punched a hole in the wall back home. And then, and then, and then, a couple hours later, we’re in room 29 at The Chateau.”

Okay, now this track features Halsey, so you’d expect a party scene that’s made for pop-rock royalty. Instead, we have another predictable setup led by basic emotions. “Bro, I almost felt like she was randomly passing your studio when I called her,” MGK says on the collab with Halsey, “because remember, she pulled up in 30 seconds. She was there in 30 seconds. So I think we were really lucky, man.” I’m sure he loved having her name on this one, but, unfortunately, Halsey wasn’t quite so lucky. And the best part, Baker also mentions, “It took her five minutes to write that verse, I could tell you that much. She was in it. That was the quickest feature session I’ve ever had in my life.” And she still kicked his lyrics’ ass… so there we have it. 


I’m still young, wasting my youth I’ll grow up next summer I’m back on those drugs I quit I kept my dealer’s number I’m still young, wasting my youth I’ll grow up next summer I’m back on that girl I quit I should’ve lost her number. 

The lyrics on this record get so youthful to the point of being sad. This one isn’t the worst melody, in my opinion, but the constant references to his “youth” and “growing up later” and pushing the harder things off so he can keep doing his kid shit isn’t even what actual young people want to hear right now. I’m pretty sure kids these days want to be inspired, not reminded of the things that they’ll be chasing when they’re in their mid-thirties.  


She’ll get attached and then trap me, then I gotta act like I’m happy, she posts pics to get at me, Déjà vu, this like last week.

Another one from “drunk face,” but this line gets a little darker than your average existential crisis. The way he addresses his relationship with women on ‘Tickets to my Downfall’ can be summed up by the term ‘revolving door,’ except you can’t tell if all the references to getting dumped are his way of self-reflecting, or just his own version of a blame game. I don’t think I need to point out all the ways in which this lyric is degrading – another one that isn’t very funny, but there’s something just so satisfying about seeing some more awful MGK that’s written out for all the world to see.  So f__k you too, MGK.


“You know my ex, so that makes it all feel complicated… Last year was a mess and how I acted was beyond me, but the past still revolves me. You text me, I ain’t responding, but now shit’s done changed. Go our separate ways, but look at this damage you did to me.”

It’s all just so complicated for this guy. Good thing he’s not dealing with the anguishes of political injustice, social inequity and environmental distress, he’d really lose it.

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new music

If Rex Orange County doesn’t hit like he used to, then you haven’t jammed this hidden gem off “Pony”

While I’ll admit this album feels a bit low-impact for the artist, I think it’s only fair to hone in on a song that helps restore this record’s shine. 

by: Becca Carroll
May 24 2020 | INDIE

Alex O’Connor is Rex Orange County: a collaborator, who’s work on Tyler the Creator‘s Flower Boy blew up what was at first a fairly measly solo career; a multi-instrumentalist whose craft seems near-reliant on quippy electric piano riffs; a character, whose boyish thoughts remind us what it feels like to be human. And he is here to shed some light on, well, himself, apparently – to say his latest record leans on self-reflection would be to put it simply. As his junior effort, Pony gives a detailed glimpse into the master-of-none mindset that lives behind the monomer we know as Rex Orange County.  Like his music, Rex is smart, sincere and sensitive – a recipe that may result in pretty frequent oversharing sessions, but proves that “earnest” doesn’t always have to mean “evolved.”  His lyrics’ mix of sadness, self-loathing, comic self-criticism and lighthearted let-downs, along with hints of feeble optimism, have come to form a catalog of slim and sentimental little jams (but also tend to call to question this guy’s coping skills)

But that’s not to say that his songs’ relatability factor has lent itself to industry support. Especially with the anticipation surrounding this release – it being the first non-rushed material to follow his work on Flower Boy and all – the 21-year-old got pretty badly burned by some of music’s biggest voices. The Guardian argues that “when he’s aiming for optimism, it can feel flat or almost gratingly saccharine,” stating that, as a whole, the album “meanders, seemingly uncertain of its purpose.” Pitchfork a publishing not known for treading lightly – deems Pony a collection of 10 new songs irritating enough to activate the mildest allergy to sincerity,” noting that, regardless of his reputation as an ‘old soul,’ “his newest music is relentlessly juvenile.”

“Always” by Rex Orange County official audio via YouTube; off new record Pony

Let’s get this part out of the way: this is not one of those articles. While I’ll admit this album feels a bit low-impact for the artist, whose beats just used to hit a little harder, I wanted to hone in on one song that I think helps restore this record’s shine. The teaser track, “Always,” is one of the moments on the album where we get to see straight through to the humanity of Rex.  This song is rich in, yes, practically all the things to love about the guy – his soulful, poppy sensibilities; his big, orchestral instrumentals; his approachable yet crippling sense of angst – which I realize makes an easy argument for this track being just plain likable. But keep in mind, it’s not necessarily likability that Rex is after. This song is just as rich in all the things considered so widely “irritating” about the artist – his unrelenting pessimism, his all-too-obvious (and, frankly, too ironic) sense of clarity, and his inability to reconcile these two points-of-view. But, I mean, you can tell he’s trying:

My apologies, it’s such a shame, I never planned to feel this way, But the more that I try the more I’m seeing the difference, I’m not gonna lie. And now I get to sit down, and I’m happy to admit now, I’m on my way. It seems I’m not invincible but I’m bored of the pain”

Plenty irritating to the self-assured, sure, but endearing to those less-equipped. “Always” is the anthem for the guy who prefers always looking down to making eye contact, but who occasionally, just occasionally, will look up at the sky, and smile. (We all know that guy.) Although, the difference with Rex Orange, being, that he doesn’t seem so quite consoled by simple pleasures. In “Always,” he poses as so adamantly headstrong that he just gets in his own damn way.

There will always be a part of me that’s holding on and still believes that everything is fine, and that I’m living a normal life. But until somebody sits me down and tells me why I'm different now, I'll always be the way I always am.

That being said, between the luscious string arrangements, soulful horn harmonies,  it’s waltz-like pace and bubbling synths, “Always” is still the most chill explosion of depressive emotion you’ve ever heard – sort of like how I picture Seth Rogan being like on Ambien. And it’s in these moments of clarity – these brief clips where he manages to quickly come to terms, but just as quickly relapse; where hope gets weighed on heavily by introspection – where you get to see the very human core of Rex. His soundtrack is this twisted world where anxiety is a product of laziness, and self-loathing a product of feeling you’ve plateaued. Are these shortcomings very helpful? No – relatable, though? Totally. 

This song looks at topics like being loved through all your flaws, getting a little older but not quite old enough, and being easily stressed out by just existing, bringing clarity to even the most convoluted of sensations. Bright blends of indie, hip hop, jazz and synth-pop work in time with adolescent lyrics to maintain harmony between the sunny and the bleak – a little twenty-one-pilots-esq, if you ask me. This artist’s anxieties feel as though they’re filtered through a teenaged lens, where it seems impossible to step back far enough to see things clearly, and everything just seems to bring you pain. I mean, I feel you, Rex, but for this singer, it’s gonna take a little more than solid mom advice to shake his boyish ways. 

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Posted October 20, 2018 at 11:46 PM
Written by Becca Carroll

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