Machine Gun Kelly’s No Sellout, But He Took The Mainstream By Storm In 2022

When haters (and MGK himself) told Machine Gun Kelly, “leave the scene, you’re ruining it,” they should’ve been prepared to stand corrected. Kells kicked down the doors and redefined what it means to be mainstream throughout 2022, which saw the release of his iconic mainstream sellout album, a whole lot of hits, and amazing growth in his personal life. We got to know Colson more than ever before this year, and it seems that he got to know himself more than ever as well. 

Kells’ year started on a high note when he proposed to his now-fiancé, Megan Fox, with not one, but two rings in January! The design combines both of their birthstones into a heart, celebrating their strong connection and cementing their promises to each other. And to make it even more special? He popped the question on 1/11 – 111 is an angel number all about knowing you’re in the right place and that things will work out when they’re meant to. Reminds us of how high school Kells went around telling people he’d marry Megan one day…

Just a few months later, Colson got his second #1 album in a row with what was probably the defining rock album of 2022: March’s mainstream sellout. This record really dug into what it means to be a musician in the digital age, celebrating the success and acclaim he’s earned while also addressing the darker side of fame. It’s equal parts elegant and edgy, delivering some of Colson’s best work to date and offering incredible team-ups with artists like blackbear and Lil Wayne. He really made EST proud with this one, and every time we listen front-to-back, we notice something new that we can’t stop thinking about.

Colson originally named the album born with horns – playing on his Taurus zodiac sign and his devilish side – but renamed it mainstream sellout as a way to reclaim the harsh things people have said about him online. And later in the year, mainstream sellout earned Kells his first-ever GRAMMY nomination, proving how far he’s come and hopefully cementing it with a shiny gold gramophone in February 2023. 

(c) Interscope Records

If we had to choose just one song that really represents the mainstream sellout album as a whole and Colson’s journey over the past few years, the clear choice would be the thoughtful “twin flame,” which breaks down Colson and Megan Fox’s journey as a couple and now, as a family. It’s one of the rawest, most vulnerable songs in his discography, which serves as a reminder of how much he’s opened himself up to love and new opportunities while also breaking our hearts a bit, as a tribute to a child he and Megan seemingly lost due to miscarriage. 

And as if we needed another reason to adore “twin flame,” Kells really brought our love for this song to the next level when he performed it at the Billboard Music Awards in May. He made the rock-anthem-turned-lullaby-turned-rock-anthem-again into a thrilling stage spectacle to honor their “unborn child,” and the set drew from his 2020 track “banyan tree,” another tribute to Megan. Any MGK performance is full of emotion and energy, but this one was definitely a standout moment of his career as a whole.

While we’re on the topic of family and tear-jerking moments: if you’ve been a longtime Kells fan, you’ll know that he’s written songs like “Story Of The Stairs” and “Burning Memories” about his estranged relationship with his mom, who distanced herself from the Baker family when Colson was nine. Things really turned around this year, with Colson officially introducing his mom to the world in June after they reconnected! Since then, she’s gone to his shows, hung out with the EST crew on karaoke nights, and even got to celebrate the holidays with Colson, Megan, and his daughter, Casie. 

So with his family (blood, chosen, and EST) by his side and an astonishing album under his belt, Kells was ready to hit the road and celebrate his success with fans! The mainstream sellout Tour ran from June to October and brought some pretty special guests along for the ride – Avril Lavigne, blackbear, iann dior, Travis Barker, Trippie Redd, WILLOW, and 44phantom, to be exact. With a lineup that amazing, you already know the shows were mind-blowing.

Colson gave us a setlist of around 30 songs every night, ranging from recent hits like “bloody valentine” to classics like “Till I Die” and “Floor 13.” And for certain shows, he brought his special guests out to perform their collabs together – for example, iann dior for “fake love don’t last” and Avril Lavigne for “Bois Lie.” Pretty legendary, if we do say so. And on top of all that, he sold out a stadium show in his hometown of Cleveland!

From Good Mourning, a movie he co-directed with MOD SUN, to One Way, Kells also spent much of 2022 pushing his boundaries as an actor and creative. Good Mourning sees Colson starring as London, an actor who’s trying to figure out whether his girlfriend is breaking up with him through a text that says “good mourning,” with a stellar cast including Dove Cameron, Becky G, Pete Davidson, and Megan Fox. We could only imagine how fun it was on set!

One Way takes a darker approach, with Colson playing a criminal trying to get away from the cops after being shot. He hops on a random bus and meets a young girl, played by Storm Reid, who’s running away from home to meet a guy she met online. From handling the pain from his injury, to trying to get in touch with his father, to learning more about this girl and her “boyfriend,” every moment gets more intense as the clock keeps ticking. 

But of his 2022 movies, we’d argue that Taurus is not only a standout, but Colson’s best flick to date. The film follows a musician in the last days of his life as he struggles with his mental health, losing his soulmate, and trying to make one last song. Meanwhile, he’s pushing himself to be there for his young daughter and has trouble getting along with his assistant, who might just be the only person who really looks out for him. 

Part of what makes Taurus so heartbreaking is that it’s semi-autobiographical, taking bits and pieces from Colson’s life while also fictionalizing some aspects that only fit the Cole character. Every raw moment feels like it could’ve been part of Kells’ own story in his worst-case scenario, and even in the scenes where Cole is shutting everyone out or shouting at someone he loves, you can’t help but root for him to push through and turn things around. 

From music to movies and beyond, Machine Gun Kelly cemented his status as a rock icon while making fans feel closer to him than ever throughout his monumental 2022. And even then, we know 2023 will be even more impressive. Colson, thank you for making the past twelve months so special for EST! You’ve inspired millions of fans worldwide every single day by being exactly who you are, and this is only the beginning of the heights you can (and will) go.

What were your favorite 2022 memories with MGK? Let us know in the comments below or link up with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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