One thing I have noticed about this Quarantine is that it is really easy to descend into boredom; when you are sitting on the couch doing nothing with nothing to do, the minutes can turn into hours really quickly. I know that I am not the only one who feels like this from what I have seen on social media over the last month. There have been a few people, however, that have been using this time that they are stuck inside to grind and get better at their craft. Multiple rappers and producers have been posting themselves freestyling and mixing beats live on their Instagram, and it has been very cool to watch them work. One person who has really been using this time to create music and art in the best way is Machine Gun Kelly. Ever since the start of this Quarantine, this man has been working hard, having posted multiple covers and remixes over the past couple of weeks, all of which are very, very good. MGK has always been known as an artist that is super diverse and one that is able to succeed at any kind of music and art that he wants to make, and these last couple of weeks have been a great example of that. Because of all of the time and work he has put into making music for his fans to enjoy during this Quarantine for his “Lockdown Sessions,” MGK stated on his Instagram that he has seen more engagement on his social media over the last week than he has seen in any single week of his entire career. I am really glad that the world is rewarding him for this hard work he is putting in. I really think that Machine Gun Kelly’s work he is putting in and the success he has had during this Quarantine is going to lead to major success for his album that is coming out later this year. With all of that being said, here is how I feel about the content Machine Gun Kelly had been putting out during these crazy times. I will be updating this piece as MGK keeps dropping his “Lockdown Sessions,” so please come back and see what I have to say as he drops new tracks!
MISERY BUSINESS(WITH TRAVIS BARKER)
The first cover that Machine Gun Kelly released during the Quarantine was a cover of the timeless Punk classic ‘Misery Business’ by Paramore. As mentioned above, this cover also features Travis Barker of Blink 182, who has been a frequent collaborator of MGK’s over the last few years. I have to say, they absolutely blew this cover out of the water; I was actually taken by surprise at how great it is. I have always known that Kells could sing and play some instruments pretty well, but I did not realize that this guy is a full-blown rock star. His performance has so much heart and excitement, and it takes me back to my younger days when I was obsessed with Paramore, which is so awesome. I really love how MGK, his bassist, and the other guitarist on the track worked on the melody and adjusted it to fit MGK’s voice; the pitch of the melody is slightly lower than it is in the original, and this really emphasized MGK’s singing talents and it makes sure that he is always on key and it makes sure that the cover sounds natural. Another thing to note is Travis Barker’s epic performance in the music video, which is linked below. He has always been known as one of the best live performance drummers, and this video is such a great example of what makes him so incredible. Overall, this is just a phenomenal cover, and I hope that MGK keeps this one in his bag to perform at concerts because it would be so epic to see him perform this cover live once the Quarantine is over.
SMOKE AND DRIVE
The next track that MGK released for his “Lockdown Sessions” was ‘Smoke and Drive,’ which is a remix of sorts of the song ‘Smoke & Drive’ by Mike Posner which came out back in 2011. This was a phenomenal pick of an instrumental for Machine Gun Kelly; the raspiness of MGK’s voice sounds pretty similar in a way to the raspiness of Mike’s voice(although Mike Posner definitely sings with a higher pitch). Also, the beat for this track just goes so hard and just makes me want to party and rage, so it is obviously a great reason for this reason as well. On this track, MGK talks to us about how he grew up being a stoner and will always be one. He mentions learning how to roll a blunt before he learned how to shave, which is impressive because it seems like most 20+-year-olds who smoke still do not know how to roll them. One of my favorite bars in this song is the part where he talks about how the weed man is still pulling up even though we are in a Quarantine; I guess when you are MGK, the weed man will always pull up literally whenever you want no matter what the situation is. The lyrical content of this track is not as substantial as some of the other remixes in this list, but Machine Gun Kelly’s flow is super sick and awesome and the instrumental is just so tough, and they make this song very enjoyable and exciting.
CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA(WITH YUNGBLUD)
The next piece of music that Machine Gun Kelly released for us during this Quarantine was a little cover of the 90s Alternative Rock track ‘Champagne Supernova.’ I love how low key and sweet this cover is; the only instruments used are a piano and an acoustic guitar, and the soft nature in which they are played really makes the listener focus on the vocal performances. The fact that we have to focus on the singing is an excellent thing in this case because the vocal performances are so great! As MGK and Yungblud demonstrated on their Punk Rock hit from last year called ‘I Think I’m Ok,’ these two harmonize with each other perfectly. Yungblud has that sort of raspy screamo high-pitched kind of singing voice that sounds a lot like some of the Screamo-Punk artists that were popular in the 2010s(like Escape the Fate or Pierce the Veil), and MGK’s sort of low gruff Punk Rock singing voice sounds really cool when on the same track as Yungblud. If you are a fan of this song or are just into chill Pop-Rock, I really do think you will love this track, because it is just performed so well and sounds so sweet.
The fourth edition of Machine Gun Kelly’s “Lockdown Sessions” is a remix to Jack Harlow’s smash hit ‘What’s Poppin?’ One thing I love about the video for this track is the beginning bit where MGK Facetimes Jack Harlow to ask him for the instrumental for this song; you can tell that Jack must be a huge fan of MGK’s just by the way he answers and reacts to MGK. Imagine if one of your musical inspirations wanted to remix one of your own songs? That would be so damn cool. If you are a fan of rap music where the emphasis is on the actual bars, you will love this track. MGK absolutely goes in on this beat, man. The instrumental for “What’s Poppin?’ is perfect for the rapid-fire rapping approach that Kells uses on this track. I love how MGK acknowledges how his haters have been on him for making Rock, Pop, and Pop music over the last couple of years instead of making traditional rap music. He is basically telling these people that if they want him to spit for real, here is proof that he has not lost his ability to do so one bit. My favorite bar from this track is this one about The Notorious B.I.G.: Wallets bigger than Chris Wallace. Dead Presidents inside, it’s haunted… As I said, this remix just goes so hard, and it proves that MGK can still spit as well as anyone in the game can.
PRETTY TOXIC REVOLVER
The song that MGK posted as a part of his “Lockdown Sessions” is the song ‘Pretty Toxic Revolver,’ which has a melody that consists of a vocal sample from the Shawn Mendez song ‘Mercy.’ ‘Pretty Toxic Revolver’ actually ended up reaching number 2 on Youtube’s trending page, which is very impressive for a song that was just released with no sort of advertising or hype building up to it. Machine Gun Kelly’s performance and rapping in this song is beautiful and haunting; I do not know if there is another way to describe it. On ‘Pretty Toxic Revolver,’ MGK really takes us inside of his head and shows us what he has been thinking about. In the first verse, he talks about some of his demons, including issues with his family and his past addiction to coke. This line from the first verse is particularly chilling: Ride with me through the memories inside of me, to the nights I was hooked on the ivory. Head hurting all week because of bad coke, then the same week Peep overdosed, that’s fucked up… Man, I can not think of a better reason to try to get a hold of an addiction like that than seeing your friend and someone who inspires you passes away from a similar thing that is making you feel so gross and ill. On the second verse of this track, Machine Gun Kelly is talking about how tired and worn out he feels. It seems like he feels like he can not impress everyone enough and that he will never be good enough. It is very interesting and cool to see a musician get this real and share these kinds of feelings with his audience. It shows that they struggle just like we do. ‘Pretty Toxic Revolver’ is such a necessary and touching song, and I really hope that MGK gets the clearance to put this one on streaming services from Shaun Mendez’s music label because he deserves for this song to go top ten on streaming sites too.
IN THESE WALLS
The next edition to the “Lockdown Sessions” by Machine Gun Kelly is the song ‘In These Walls,’ which uses a sample from the song ‘My House’ by Pvris. This song seems to be dedicated to the mother of his child, who he has made multiple songs about in the past. This is another song where you can definitely feel the pain that the situation surrounding this track has caused him; you can tell that he is still not over her at all, and that he will always love her no matter what. He admits how he took advantage of her and did a lot of things to hurt her while they were together, but he wants her to remember that he also would have done and still would do literally anything for her. He is also trying to remind her of all of the times that she hurt him as well; it definitely was not a one-way street when it comes to their relationship. My favorite line of the song is this one: What a damn shame? King of the underworld, what a damn name? Cause he killed all the other girls in the damn frame, for a queen that he never realized had fangs… No need to explain what that line means, it is just so real. My other favorite moment in this song is when he harmonizes on the chorus with Pvris at the end of the song. You can hear just how emotional he is in his voice, and it just adds another element to make that makes the song even greater. I am really glad that so many people are noticing the work that Kells is putting in; as of when I am writing this, this track is number one on Youtube’s trending page. With ‘In These Walls,’ MGK is 6 for 6 during the Quarantine with his “Lockdown Sessions.”
WHAT I GOT FEAT. YUNGBLUD, 24KGOLDN, AND TRAVIS BARKER
‘What I Got’ is the only addition to Machine Gun Kelly’s “Lockdown Sessions” that did not actually have its own music video uploaded for is; this is because it was released as a part of and for Yungblud’s new monthly Internet talk show called ‘The Yungblud Show.” Because of this, the video that is linked below is just some bootleg version that I found on Youtube(It has been a couple of days and Yungblud still has not taken it down, so maybe his team is leaving it up as a way for the public to see it). One of my favorite things about this cover of ‘What I Got’ is the fact that all of the musicians in this video(including the featured guitarist and bassist and especially Yungblud and MGK), seems to be having so much fun. Even though all of the artists are in their own homes, the video just looks like a jam session between a bunch of great musicians. Another awesome thing about this track is the Funk-Metal and Nu-Metal feeling that this version of ‘What I Got’ has because of the guitar riffs and drum patterns. All three of these vocalists sound really cool over this Metal kind of instrumental, and I would love to hear all of them experiment with this genre in the future. Because of his raspy and deep voice, MGK sounds especially great on this instrumental. It is yet another example of how diverse an artist Kells really is. This is a song that I hope all 24kGoldn, MGK, and Yungblud start performing live in concerts, because all three of them excelled at singing ‘What I Got.’
LOVE ON THE BRAIN
I am sure that most people would agree that ‘Love On the Brain’ is not a song that anyone would expect Machine Gun Kelly to cover. He has covered and made Pop music in the past, but slow and sensual R&B songs have never really been the type of genre one would expect someone with his catalog to attempt trying to cover. According to the Youtube video linked below, MGK’s ‘Love On the Brain’ cover was actually a suggestion of Marilyn Manson’s. Most music fans may not realize that Marilyn Manson actually loves to cover and remake Pop and R&B music that is extremely far away sonically from the music he usually makes(he has a full repertoire of excellent covers that anyone reading this should look up when done), and I feel like he was trying to challenge MGK by asking him to cover something that would normally be out of his element. Honestly, though, this performance may be my favorite out of all the music that Machine Gun Kelly has released during the Quarantine. The way that he and his team turned this cover into a Rock n’ Roll ballad is just awesome; once again, they did a really excellent job and adjusting the melody so it works perfectly with MGK’s singing voice. When MGK hits that chorus and belts out: It must be love on the brain that’s got me feeling this way…, it sounds like he is Blues singer from the 1960s or 1970s, and it makes the song sound even more timeless. When Rihanna sings this song, it sounds like a ballad by someone is madly in love; when MGK sings this track, it sounds like a song about someone who is desperately trying to get away from a significant other who hurts him, but no matter what he does, he can’t shake free. Also, the guitar solo at the end of this song is just awesome, once again it shows how talented of a musician Machine Gun Kelly really is. MGK’s ‘Love On the Brain’ cover is excellent, and it is not one you should want to miss.
BONUS: Two songs released in the last week and a half that Machine Gun Kelly was featured on
SICK AND TIRED – iann dior FEAT. MACHINE GUN KELLY AND TRAVIS BARKER
‘Sick and Tired’ is a track that from what I understand was created by iann dior, Machine Gun Kelly, and Travis Barker while stuck in this Quarantine; this lyricism in the chorus seems to allude to that: I’ve been losing my mind tryna figure it out. But I’m stuck in the drought, I am my only friend. I’ve been losing my mind. But I’m stuck in this house, I am my only friend… It is really cool that because of the access everyone has to each other via the internet, artists are still able to make music with each other even though everyone is stuck in their own houses and can not meet up at an actual studio. If you have not heard of iann dior yet, he is an artist that should definitely check out. He is another artist that has come up in the Soundcloud Emo-Trap wave, and he has a lot of similarities to artists like Trippie Redd and Juice Wrld. iann dior has more of a Punk-Rock element that shines through in his music though; ‘Sick and Tired’ is an excellent example of the Punk-Rock sound that iann tends to embrace. This song reminds me a lot of the Emo-Rock music that was popular in the early 2000s. I love how there is a perfect fusion of Trap and Rock that truly blurs the line from both of the genres. Machine Gun Kelly’s voice and Travis Barker’s drumming really add to the Punk-Rock feeling that this track has. If you are a fan of Punk-Rock music or Emo-Trap music, I think you will like the song ‘Sick and Tired.’
STAY AWAY – MOD SUN FEAT. MGK AND GOODIE GRACE
The latest song that has Machine Gun Kelly featured on it is this new one from Mod Sun, ‘Stay Away,’ which also features Goodie Grace. It is no surprise that these two are collaborating yet again, as they sort of came up in the music industry together and have become very good friends. MGK and Mod Sun have made multiple songs with each other in the past, and they have toured together multiple times as well. Mod Sun is even in MGK’s music video for his song ‘I Think I’m OK’ which came out last year(and which seems to be a precursor for the music on MGK’s new record coming out this summer). Mod Sun’s music in the past has typically had a very happy and upbeat tone to it; in fact, early in his career, He actually coined the term Hippity-Hop, because his music always had a Hippy-Rock sort of feeling to it even though he is a rapper. ‘Stay Away’ is actually pretty opposite from the Hip Hop music that he came up making. It is actually closer to the Punk Rock and Heavy Metal music he made at the beginning of his career when he was a drummer. ‘Stay Away’ seems to be a song about Mod Sun’s recent break up with Bella Thorne; this break up definitely affected him in a very negative way, and you can hear the pain in his voice. One thing that is to note from all three of the artists in this song is the vocal performances; the vocals in this song super excellent, and all three of these artists are showing off their range in an awesome way. Once again, if you are into Emo-Trap and Punk-Rock, this is a song you should definitely check out.