Review: Machine Gun Kelly fires up listeners with ‘Mainstream Sellout,’ but doesn’t bring anything new

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Michael Ramirez

A digitally constructed image of “Mainstream Sellout” – which Machine Gun Kelly released on Friday, March 25 – is shown. The album has a total of 16 songs. “This album is my second favorite album of Machine Gun Kelly’s,” senior and reporter Michael Ramirez said in the attached review. “It brings a new level of punk pop that I am falling in love with.”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you like Machine Gun Kelly, then you will probably end up enjoying “Mainstream Sellout.” However, the album does not bring anything new to Machine Gun Kelly’s range of music. The album has a total runtime of 40 minutes and 25 seconds, and a total of 16 songs – six with features and nine solos with one interlude. He also released “Emo Girl” featuring Willow Smith, “Maybe” featuring Bring Me The Horizon and “ay!” featuring Lil Wayne. The album is labeled as explicit, so audiences should be advised before listening.

Personally, I love his musical range. The majority of the album tends to be high drive with heavy guitar and drums use.  He shows off his range by having songs like “make up sex (feat. blackbear)” which has a strong drive and use of drums, to a slower paced song such as “twin flame” using an acoustic guitar and a much slower drive, bringing out more emotion from the listeners. “Mainstream Sellout” is my second favorite album from Machine Gun Kelly, after “Tickets to My Downfall” which came out in 2020. 

As listed below are songs that I have selected that are a combination of my overall favorites, some I don’t like and some that show Machine Gun Kelly’s vocal range. However, not every song in the album is listed.

‘born with horns’

With this song being the first song on the album, “born with horns” successfully sets up the expectations and the overall tone of the album as a whole. The beginning of the song feels high energy with the drums, and leans into the punk-rock genre. Then, it successfully slows down the song drastically, solely focusing on vocals and subtle guitar, then transitions back into a pop-punk.

‘maybe (feat. Bring Me The Horizon)’

Beginning with the slow and gentle strumming of a guitar to an immediate pace change with drums, “maybe” brings a more punk-rock feeling throughout the whole song. I personally enjoy this song for the most part, and I love the high energy and different elements that the featured band Bring Me The Horizon brings to the song. The lyrics are catchy, and the guitar solo is something anyone can love. 

‘mainstream sellout’

While this song is written amazingly, I think the song tends to be repetitive, and it loses its message. I think the purpose of this song is to re-organize all of the different hate comments sent Machine Gun Kelly’s way into a song, which he does do successfully. However, if you do not know much about Machine Gun Kelly, then the song feels way too monotonous, and loses its touch.

‘make up sex (feat. blackbear)’

This is my favorite song on the entire album. It has a catchy and unique drum bit that it easy to fall in love with. The instrumental aspects of the song are playful, and while the lyrics are about a toxic and unhealthy relationship, the song as whole helps express this, too.

‘sid & nancy’

I love the beginning of this song with the guitar solo and the low voice. However, the instruments do drown out the vocals in this song to the point where it feels like a chore to listen to it. While it is never a bad idea to have loud instruments, in this case it just does not work well for me.

‘die in california (feat. Gunna, Young Thug, Landon Barker)’

I loved this song because of the slower placing. While the song is rap, it has some elements of acoustic guitar, which is different. However, the song does feel out of place in the album as whole, with the majority of the songs having mainly punk rock elements.

‘5150’

Honestly, I don’t like this song. I think it’s too repetitive, and, listening to the album in track-list order, it has me wanting a different kind of energy that the next song “papercuts” brings. I can skip this song in the album without any worries.

‘papercuts – album edit’

This song features a slower paced beat with a heavy use on rock elements. I do prefer the slower, more powerful songs coming from Machine Gun Kelly. I love the mixed of loud guitar and drums that helps keep me involved in the music, almost like it grabs the attention back from the listener right before its lost.