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Downfalls High turns MGK’s latest album into a pop-punk musical experience

One of my absolute favourite things about music is the storytelling aspect it holds. Sure, you can write a hit pop song off of something that doesn’t really make much sense, but when you write a hit that not only can stand on its own but also contribute to a bigger picture, that’s when you truly hit musical success (at least in my opinion). Machine Gun Kelly did exactly this for me when he released Tickets to My Downfall back in September.

I’m a huge sucker for concept and storytelling albums, if you can take me through a rollercoaster of emotions or a brutal love story with a handful of songs and 45 minutes, I not only will be absolutely jealous of your artistic ability but I will continue to support you with everything I have. Tickets to My Downfall was my top album of 2020. The way MGK was able to invoke every emotion I had struggled with over the last few months — while also bringing some mainstream attention to a genre of music that has fuelled my musical obsession for years — was enough to have me absolutely obsessed, so when I heard about the Downfalls High movie I was completely hyped. 

My first watch of Downfalls High was honestly euphoric, I was intensely hanging on to every word the actors were saying while simultaneously singing my heart out to some of my favourite tracks from the year. From start to finish, I was absolutely and completely enthralled. Usually when sitting down to watch TV or music videos, I tend to get side tracked by looking at my phone or doing other tasks. Downfalls High had me so tuned in, I was able to block out the world for a solid hour and submerge myself into this beautifully tragic fictional world.

As a music enthusiast, I live for watching music videos; there’s nothing better than seeing the words and emotions from your favourite songs come to life in a beautiful display of artistry on the screen, so what’s better than a music video? An entire movie inspired by those words and emotions from your favourite album, and Downfalls High is quite literally a musical film. This entire concept is so iconic to me and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get over it. In my musical experience, I have never watched something that got me excited over an album and it was such an inspiration for what I want future artists to participate in. 

Once I finished fangirling over just the concept of making a movie to depict your album and dove into the actual story of Downfalls High, I was even more obsessed. Machine Gun Kelly along with MOD SON were able to create a story that perfectly matched up and flowed with each song off the album. The movie follows characters Scarlett (Sydney Sweeney) and Fenix (Chase Hudson) through the ups and downs of their relationship and the different struggles they go through while exploring their young love. While it follows the story of these characters, MGK and Travis Barker act as an outside force narrating the story and providing seamless transitions to the story and songs as they venture from the top to the bottom of Tickets to My Downfall. They were able to tell a story not only through the actors and their main story, but also through the side narrations and mini music videos as they jump from each song. The movie includes an entire cast of up-and-coming pop culture icons as well as a star studded line-up of featured artists from the album including blackbear, iann dior and Trippie Redd.

Watching Downfalls High was an emotional rollercoaster. I was able to connect to the characters as they acted through this tragic love story. The story line was depicted beautifully and was able to invoke all the different emotions you would have while watching a feature film. I laughed, I smiled and I even cried at one point. I was truly blown away by the creativity it took to put this all together and tie the story into the album tracks flawlessly. After watching Downfalls High, it’s hard to believe that Tickets to My Downfall was written for anything other than a soundtrack to the movie because it fits it so perfectly. 

You don’t have to be a fan of MGK or his music to recognize how creative this concept was and how revolutionary it is. I hope that this is something future artists jump on and make come to life because it was so exciting to watch and could provide a great way for artists to display their creativity in a bigger, more meaningful way. I think, too often nowadays, the music industry is so focused on putting out the next big hit that they forget why most people listen to music in the first place, and that’s the way it makes you feel. This is a big reason why I loved Tickets to My Downfall so much upon its initial release. When I sit down and put on a playlist, I do it because I’m feeling a certain way or I don’t know how to process my feelings and a certain musical lineup can help me work through it and get me to a better place. Downfalls High was the perfect depiction of that and how music can push us through the weirdest and hardest of times and that we all go through struggles. As I’ve stated before, sometimes the best medicine is the musical kind and the dosage from Downfalls High was exactly what my body needed.

You can currently watch the Downfalls High film on Facebook and I highly suggest you do. Something as creative and iconic as a musical movie shouldn’t go unwatched or unnoticed and I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this project and how unique it was for a long time. I was emotionally invested in each minute of the story and this fuelled my musical soul entirely while also reminding me of what a great album this was and why I fell in love with it in the first place. It was beautiful and tragic all at the same time and transported me from the weird — sometimes scary — world that we currently live in, into a creative story that ebbed and flowed through a plethora of emotions that I’ve been dying to explore.

Tia Wilson

Tia is a small town bartender using her obsession for music as a way to make good tips. She spends most of her money on traveling to shows and purchasing way too much merch. She hopes to spend her life spreading love and music with those who cross her path.

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