RADIO.COM LIVE Check In: How MGK put his soul on the line to write his latest album

Kelly digs deep into his emotions while recording 'Tickets to My Downfall'

September 28, 2020

Machine Gun Kelly poured every ounce of heart and soul into his latest pop-punk experiment album Tickets To My Downfall. “There’s a lot of sad elements to the album,” he told Kevan Kenny during our RADIO.COM Live Check In.

“I really feel like my soul was chipped off a little bit and put onto this record. I don’t know if it’s something I can get back.”

MGK was riding around town when we caught up with him. During our last check in, the artist was putting final touches on his latest work, advising with Blink-182’s Travis Barker on the master copy. Kelly says the recording process didn’t have a labored feel. “Every song took like, five minutes to write. Every song was instantaneous.”

The album was an instantaneous success, topping ITunes charts over the weekend. One of the biggest singles “my ex’s best friend (with blackbear)” garnered more than 60,000,000 spins on Spotify with its freewheeling vibes and tones. But some tracks were more painful to record than others.

Tickets To My Downfall is MGK’s lovesick confession and no track embodies that more than “Lonely.” Kelly says the song was “was definitely one of the hardest songs I had to do.”

“I cried when I was recording that. The chorus was really powerful because it started off and I told him to play the beat over and over and over again. I was just going to let my emotions take the steering wheel. I was screaming random things. I caught that phrase ‘lonely, lonely, even when the room is full,” he shared with Kevan.

“I left with tears in my eyes. That song was just really therapeutic.”

The track’s vulnerability derives from personal loss. Kelly’s father fell ill and died back in July, creating an emotional catalyst for the track’s emotional pull.

“I think that song wrote itself as I was watching my father die in front of me. As an artist, you write about pain. I don’t what bigger pain there is than losing your last person that you were taught you could count on.”

Not everything about MGK’s latest work is soaked in sorrow. Fans were immediately drawn toward his pink guitar on the album cover. He says that harsh pink became part of the work’s overall aesthetic. “It’s almost like the hue of whatever the studio lighting is or whatever clothes I’m wearing around that time become the mood.”

So what was the exact mood of Tickets to My Downfall?

“The pink is such a polarizing color. People say ‘I hate it that a guy is wearing pink.’ Which is exactly how I feel about genres,” he muses. “It polarizes people and that’s what good art is. It makes people feel like ‘I hate this’ or ‘I love this.’ But at least you don’t NOT feel something.”

Another element to Kelly’s new album are the sheer number of collaborations with popular artists like Trippie Redd, blackbear and iann dior. But no collaboration better exemplifies Machine Gun Kelly’s genre bending attitude than his work with Halsey on “forget me too.”

“She walked in, wrote her verse in 3 minutes, went into the booth and started singing in a low register. We were like ‘this is sick.’ It was our first song together among the infinite years we’ve been friends. She hit the high register voice and blew my mind.”

“I’m so grateful we waited so long to do the perfect collaboration with each other.”

If you want a deeper dive into Tickets to My Downfall, we broke down the best lyrics from each track.

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