Willow Smith

Willow's latest album, lately i feel EVERYTHING, is an absolutely stunning entry into the pop punk canon and a vivid glimpse into the future of rock and roll.

Anyone who's been following Willow's career shouldn't be surprised by this. Willow has always been a futuristic artist, one step ahead of everyone else in terms of both her lyrics, her music, and the way she presents herself to the world.

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Music Features

6 Controversial Metal Bands Banned Around The World

Here are some of metal's most disturbing acts that have been forever banned from countries around the world.

Photo by Julian Lozano on Unsplash

Metal has always pushed the boundaries of what's tasteful.

But the genre remains compelling because of its ability to challenge what is deemed acceptable and "normal." By delving into the grotesque, metal has challenged dialogues surrounding religion, sex, and self-expression, which is what makes the genre so exciting and groundbreaking. But it's also what makes the art form one ripe with controversy.

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Music Lists

6 Political Rock Bands to Soundtrack Our Collective Anger

Here are some groups that can serve as the blood-pumping soundtracks to our collective riotous energy and despair.

Pussy Riot


"Superstition taking all of us for a ride, minds overtaken by the signs of the Right."

On "Tentative," System of a Down's Serj Tankian lets loose his paranoia and vitriol but remains consumed by hopelessness. "No one's gonna save us now," he bellows over wavering guitars. While penned in 2005, "Tentative's" vexation feels all too relatable in 2020. While we take to the streets to protest racial injustice or to social media to compel voter turn-out or educate conservative cousins on the reality of climate change, the efforts often feel like we're screaming into the void.

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Machine Gun Kelly

Photo by ABC/Shutterstock

Machine Gun Kelly surprised everyone when it was announced that his pop-punk project Tickets to My Downfall debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 this week.

The project sold over 126,000 copies and is followed in close suit by other punky records such as Juice WRLD's Legends Never Die.

As BLM protests continue to swell across the country, along with an overall "burn this house down" type of attitude, Tickets to My Downfall thrived this week because of its timing more than its content. The album didn't necessarily bring anything new to the pop-punk genre. Produced by Blink 182's Travis Barker, MGK wore the drummer's influence directly on his sleeve for the project's entirety.

The album clocked into the 85-to-110bpm of Blink, offered the swelling chord progressions of The Starting Line, and had the overall "f*ck you" attitude of American Hi-Fi and Good Charlotte. The album's deluxe edition even featured a cover of Paramore's "Misery Business" and a bonus track, "Body bag," which was so close in similarity to Fall Out Boy's "Dance Dance" that the rapper needed clearance from the band to even release it. Tracks like "WWIII," "my ex's best friend," and "concert for aliens" paint MGK as a diluted scene kid more than a true champion of the genre. But even if he's trend-hopping, kids have never been more in need of the type of raucous energy MGK offers.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly

Photo by ABC/Shutterstock

If you scroll through the YouTube comment section on MGK's previous singles, you'll find praise littered with nostalgia. "This pop punk album sounds like a time machine to the early 2000s," wrote one fan of 2019's "I Think I'm OKAY." "Life was simple as a kid. We had no internet and we spent our afternoons playing football on the street, or riding our bike or just chatting and laughing over something stupid."

Pop-punk bands are nowhere close to being obsolete (Neck Deep and Knuckle Puck are just a few groups to release great projects in 2020), but as teens grow up in a world fueled by Drake and TikTok dance trends, the rambunctious sounds of pop-punk have remained lost on teens until recently. The late Lil Peep, YUNGBLUD, and other Soundcloud emo artists have maintained their hybrid throne, but MGK is the first mainstream celebrity to give the genre a splash of rock chords and mass appeal.

Tickets to My Downfall sounds clean and polished–features from stars like Blackbear and Halsey inevitably drew in pop fans– but its best moments ("bloody valentine," "title track") are guitar-laden and offer enough snap to reignite nostalgia in the old heads (i.e. us), who grew up going to Warped Tour.

As we enter a dramatic closing quarter for 2020, catching a nostalgic vibe is a priority for exhausted and traumatized Americans. Deftones, the iconic early-aughts metal band, also charted on the Billboard 200 this week with their latest release, Ohms. All of it is indicative of collective anger and a collective yearning for freedom and escape.

Meanwhile, on TikTok, Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" has experienced a 374 percent increase in streams thanks to a video of @420doggface208, real name Nathan Apodaca, skating down an Idaho freeway sipping cranberry juice. The video merely highlights a fleeting positive moment in Apodaca's otherwise sh*tty day, whose car broke down moments before filming. But these days, those quick moments of joy mean more than ever before.

MGK's new record may not be as tough and gritty as the pop-punk contemporaries he embodies, but in a time where we're all collectively miserable, Tickets to My Downfall serves as a time machine for some and a cathartic release for others that is more than welcome.

Tickets To My Downfall (SOLD OUT Deluxe)

Music Lists

A Brief Intro to Emo: 10 Essential Albums

Want to get into rock's most misunderstood subgenre? Here's where to start.

American Football - Honestly? [OFFICIAL AUDIO]

Has there ever been a style of music as misunderstood as emo?

Though rock's angstiest subgenre might get a bad reputation, there's a lot of history behind it—as well as great albums. Before bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and Paramore boomed in the mid-2000s, emo fire rose to prominence from Washington, D.C.'s hardcore punk movement in the '80s. It's been a long road to get emo where it is today, but the genre wouldn't be what it is without the many bands who passed the torch over the years. There are many great albums to dive into, many of which timestamp Midwest emo's massive spike in popularity in the '90s.

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