Whether you know him from his decade-long rap career, role as Felix in Birdbox, spot-on portrayal of Tommy Lee in The Dirt, comedian Pete Davidson’s BFF, or Megan Fox’s new beau, Machine Gun Kelly, born Colson Baker, has left footprints across the entertainment industry. Hot off a summer full of home-recorded covers and his first MTV Video Music Award, MGK takes another step in a new direction with his fifth studio album, Tickets to My Downfall (Bad Boy/Interscope), wearing his heart on his sleeve for 13 tracks (and 2 interludes) of pop-punk magic. Most fittingly, the new release was executively produced by Blink 182’s Travis Barker, who Baker first collaborated with last summer on “I Think I’m Okay,” along with Brit bud Yungblud. It’s no surprise the album sounds as if it could have been born during the early-2000’s pop-punk heyday. Though TTMD is a change of pace from MGK’s typical style, it does not fully abandon his roots, highlighting a multitude of hip-hop guests and beats, party songs, and pop anthems. In fact, he has consistently cited various rock acts as influences, so it was only a matter of time until he fully submerged himself in the genre.
…And popular music was never the same again. That’s how this story began for anyone following the career of Marilyn Manson, though few can claim to have seen it coming except for the star himself. Surely if you asked him, he visualized, created, dreamed and willed his ugly, beautiful, heavy baby into existence with Portrait of an American Family (Nothing/Interscope). His real-life nightmare/snuff film/acid trip/Satanist/Nietzche manifesto on the psyche of the modern world gave birth to a legion of fans and imitators the same way his heroes Bowie, KISS, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Arthur Brown, The Doors, Iggy and the Stooges, and more did. Continue reading
There has been a certain inevitability about the de-Rocking of 30 Seconds To Mars’ sound. They have always embraced electronica as being as integral to what they are as the guitars, bass, and drums, with Jared Leto’s distinctive tones up-front and centre. If 2013’s Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams (Virgin) advanced matters, progressing things from flirting with pop and electronics to full on stepping out, to (painfully) extend that metaphor, America (Interscope) is the lavish engagement party, as the band walk confidently off into the sunset hand-in-hand with modern, mainstream and minimalist pop-sensibilities. Continue reading
Cards on the table, pop isn’t my world, but something about the second K.Flay album Every Where Is Some Where (Night Street / Interscope) piqued the interest. It’s not your standard Ghost Cult fare by any stretch, but we’re up for chucking things your way from time to time that sit outside the realms we normally cover, cos, at the end of the day, good music is good music. And while K.Flay wouldn’t be picked up by my usual radar, I’m not disappointed it did hit my desk. Continue reading