It has been less than two years since the release of ‘Tickets To My Downfall‘, which was Machine Gun Kelly’s (aka Colson Baker’s) first mark in the pop punk scene. He has made his inevitable comeback with the release of ‘Mainstream Sellout’, which is sure to top the charts once again! While ‘Tickets To My Downfall’ was a somewhat youthful and optimistic record, exploring themes of love and closure from toxic relationships, ‘Mainstream Sellout‘ appears to be a lot darker in its lyrical content and sound.

Whilst still incorporating his now recognised pop-punk image, Machine Gun Kelly’s new record has an angsty vibe, which is filled with buckets of attitude. ‘Born With Horns’ is the first track from the release, which is a Blink-182 inspired track with the clear 2000’s style instrumentals and vocal style. However, we don’t think it’s quite enough to fully propel him into the iconic pop punk scene quite yet. ‘God Save Me’ is up next, which is very much in the same vein, but yet very forgettable. ‘Maybe’ is the next track, featuring Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon fame. From the first few seconds, you are skyrocketed into a pop-punk fest with the introduction of a gritty drum beat. The chorus is pretty memorable as a result, but it could be a bit repetitive after a few listens. However, saying that Sykes’ portion of the song makes it slightly different from the rest.

Lil Wayne is the first rap collaboration on ‘Mainstream Sellout’, joining Machine Gun Kelly on ‘Drug Dealer.’ The content is very unoriginal and uninspiring, discussing Baker’s obsession with his ‘drug dealer girl’, which just isn’t very convincing. The only thing saving this song is Lil Wayne’s involvement. ‘Wall Of Fame’ is an interlude to the album, which features spoken word from his SNL comedian best friend, Pete Davidson. It seems as though the track is just a casual conversation between the two that could have easily been left out of the track listing. The title track ‘Mainstream Sellout’ is up next, which is Machine Gun Kelly’s clap back at his haters, with lyrics like; ‘Does he even play guitar?’. This is very well timed following the viral TikTok of a guitar shop owner suggesting that he doesn’t play guitar in his live shows.

‘Make Up Sex’ featuring Blackbear is the next collaboration on the compilation. This is definitely one of the highlights on the album, with its insanely catchy chorus and the video features cats galore… what’s not to love?! Blackbear also adds a great touch to the song, with both of their vocals harmonising well throughout.

The fourth collaboration comes in the form Willow on ‘Emo Girl’. Even though this song seemed to be repeatedly slated on its official release, this is one of the significantly best tracks on ‘Mainstream Sellout’ to date. Granted the lyrical content seems slightly young for Baker in comparison to Willow, but at least the song has lasting power.

‘5150’ is up next, which directly references the California law of ‘5150 legal hold’. It states that an individual can be held for a 72 hour psychiatric evaluation. This could relate to Machine Gun Kelly’s mental state and how he feels like he’s losing control, therefore could be up next to have a legal hold placed on him. ‘Papercuts’ is a slower track, which shows Baker’s vulnerable side. He talks honestly about the realities of his life and how he is struggling with substance abuse. He also references the death of his late father, who sadly passed away in 2020. This is one of the most real and honest songs that we have witnessed from Machine Gun Kelly and it pays off.

‘WW4’ is another Blink-182 pop-punk fuelled track, which is heavily based around fiesty instrumentation. He speaks truthfully about his experience in the public eye and how it typically comes with a lot of downsides. ‘Ay!’ is Baker’s second collaboration with Lil Wayne on ‘Mainstream Sellout’, which sees him adopting more of his previous rap inspired persona of 2017. This track really expresses why Machine Gun Kelly has skyrocketed to stardom, with his rap style vocals really telling us all we need to know.

Iann Dior has teamed up with Baker for his next collaboration titled ‘Fake Love Don’t Last’, which is a good effort but most certainly isn’t the best pairing on this record. ‘Die In California’ is the final collaboration on the album, this time featuring Gunna, Young Thug and Landon Barker (best known as Travis Barker’s son). Even though the track features some up and coming names in the music industry, it definitely doesn’t hit as hard as some of the other team projects on ‘Mainstream Sellout’, such as ‘Ay!’ and ‘Emo Girl’. ‘Sid & Nancy’ is the penultimate track, which speaks of a somewhat dysfunctional relationship between Colson and his lover. Even though it’s not one of the most prominent tracks on the release, it’s still somewhat memorable in any case. The final track ‘Twin Flame’ introduces more of a softer sounding guitar riff and a more intimate lyrical subject. This is Machine Gun Kelly’s track to his now fiancée Megan Fox, where he shares his deepest insecurities surrounding their relationship. He thinks he’s not good enough for her, even though he seems to be giving her all he’s got emotionally.

Overall, ‘Mainstream Sellout’ is a fairly average album from Machine Gun Kelly. It is evidently clear that he has a lot of work to do to develop his signature pop punk sound. Even though the majority of the tracks on this release are definitely forgettable to say the least, there are a few shining stars that stand out above the rest, with ‘Ay!’, ‘Make Up Sex’, ‘Emo Girl’ and ‘Papercuts’ really the only songs pulling this through.

Mainstream Sellout‘ is out now via Bad Boy/Interscope Records.

Verdict: 2/5

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