Machine Gun Kelly reunites with Travis Barker for angsty, Whammy-heavy new single, Papercuts

Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker
(Image credit: Machine Gun Kelly/YouTube)

With his last album, Tickets To My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly reinvented his musical identity, distancing himself from the hip-hop image that drove much of his early success. 

The LP – which arrived in September last year – saw the Cleveland native team up with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker for 15 tracks of unadulterated pop-punk, reminiscent of the early-2000s sound typified by the likes of Good Charlotte, Sum 41, and New Found Glory.

And while he partners once again with Barker – who is quite possibly the busiest drummer in music after only recently contributing to singles by Willow Smith, K. Flay, KennyHoopla and more – on his new track Papercuts, this time MGK opts for a more emo-style arrangement.

Following its stripped-back-sounding acoustic guitar intro, the track is rife with gain-y powerchords, and even features a Whammy-driven lead during the outro.

Check out the Cole Bennett-directed music video – which features a giant-scale version of MGK's trademark single-humbucker pink Schecter PT – below.

Papercuts is the first single from Machine Gun Kelly's recently announced new album, Born With Horns. Like Tickets To My Downfall, the album will feature Travis Barker's drumming and production. Commemorating the announcement, the pair recently got matching 'Born With Horns' tattoos on their forearms.

In a recent interview with LA radio station KROQ, MGK vowed to “piss people off all over again” with his upcoming material, promising to “keep breaking the mould”.

“Even when I say, ‘Break the mould and piss people off all over again,’ I just mean make them think again; make them have a moment of like, ‘This artist is so polarizing [that] I have to tune in,” he said.

Given his comments, and the nature of the new album's title, could we be in for some heavier material from Machine Gun Kelly? We await the answer with interest…

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.