Over the past few years, both Machine Gun Kelly and WILLOW have pivoted into pop punk. The key difference is MGK was pushing 30 when he switched over from rapping and the longtime genre-fluid WILLOW was just around drinking age. That’s why the latter’s contribution to their new collaboration “emo girl” is so crucial.
Having grown up on My Chemical Romance and Paramore, pop punk was a natural progression for WILLOW, which makes the origins of “emo girl” so infuriating. While WILLOW expressed her appreciation for “just being able to be authentically me” on the track during a Rolling Stone conversation with Barker last year, the Blink-182 drummer revealed that he and MGK already had a verse written for her.
Thankfully, the final lyrics didn’t end up being written from the perspective of two cis white men. Instead, the openly bisexual WILLOW took control of her verse and made it about searching for a girl of her own. When she sings about “bleeding on your Blink tee” and being depressed alongside her crush, it feels real. Stream the official visualizer for “emo girl” below.
As for MGK, there’s no denying that switching up his sound has brought him success. 2020’s Tickets to My Downfall scored the former rapper his first No. 1 album and also was certified platinum. However, no amount of tattoos, beefs with rock legends, and thorny engagement rings will ever make him as authentic as WILLOW.
“emo girl” will appear on MGK’s upcoming album mainstream sellout, out March 25th. Preorders are ongoing.
WILLOW is currently on the road with Billie Eilish for the US leg of the latter’s “Happier Than Ever Tour.” Snag your tickets here.