mainstream sellout

Machine Gun Kelly

mainstream sellout

Originally, Machine Gun Kelly wanted to name his sixth LP born with horns, as a nod to the way he’s felt his entire life—like an outsider, whether he’s rapping or holding a guitar. Instead, he made the song mainstream sellout’s opening statement: a concussive, cathartic, two-and-a-half-minute rush of early-2000s pop punk whose chorus comes like a freight train, framed by a scream. “Alienate me, I'm not the one you want,” he roars. “I feel so alienated, like I’m the devil’s spawn.” In the wake of 2020’s Tickets to my Downfall, the Cleveland native stays close to blink-182’s Travis Barker, who resumes his role here as executive producer and destroyer of snare drums. (The two now also share a “born with horns” tattoo.) What follows is an open-hearted, period-specific pop-punk record as envisioned by an artist with a rapper’s sensibility, from its many guest features (see: blackbear, WILLOW, Gunna, Young Thug, noted rap-rock enthusiast Lil Wayne) to the seemingly natural ways in which MGK makes the heightened, nursery-rhyme-like melodies of vintage blink (or Green Day) sound as though they’ve been a perfect home for raps all along. “Sleepin’ in, faked sick/Smoked a blunt, had a kid,” he sings on “paper cuts”, a song he dedicates to his late father, amid keening clusters of “Brain Stew”-like power chords. “Don’t belong, I’m a punk/Hello, world, you fuckin’ suck.”

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