General Admission [Deluxe Edition] [Parental Advisory]
Recording information: Blakeslee Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Little Big Room, Burbank, CA; Parkland Playhouse, Parkland, FL; Tree Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA.
Photographer: Casey McPerry.
It's a clever joke naming your autobiographical album General Admission, and thank the stars that Cleveland MC Machine Gun Kelly is that clever. Life on the bad streets of his hometown sounds depressing and dour according to the stories here, so framing it all as a cruel joke is necessary, and breaking these downers up with a Kid Rock anthem couldn't hurt. Not when that Detroit-meets-Cleveland rap-rock cut is the worthy "Bad Mother F*cker," a simple yet aptly titled baller where MGK gives up "I'm the type to drop a hit of acid on the beach/And then fly to Baltimore and scream 'F*ck the police!'" as if that would help matters. General Admission sometimes seems dipped in this acid and stoned on shrooms as the haunting "Alpha Omega" free associates spiritual stuff like it was a Bizzy Bone cut, while the great Cleveland booster "Til I Die" and the nearly as good "World Series" are trap anthems that could be melting as they slowly trudge out of the speakers. Add to this the relationship apocalypse called "Story of the Stairs," and the doomed number dubbed "Eddie Cane" ("...only Five Heartbeats left"), and the album is a no-fun effort with little hope, with a bit of Kid Rock-driven debauchery to keep listeners off the ledge. That doesn't mean MGK holds back on the mischief, the jokes, or the wry rhymes, and when he holds Kurt Cobain up as an inspiration during "A Little More," it makes sense. General Admission can be corrosive and coarse like Nirvana's In Utero, but while it lacks that album's artistic weight, it's proud to be unattractive which, oddly enough, becomes this druggy downer's allure. ~ David Jeffries