Ok, before I start this review I’m going to have to come clean and admit that I’m not a Pop Punk fan. Being a teenager in London in the late ’70s and early ’80s I grew up listening to The Clash, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Sham 69 etc. etc.
When Green Day came along, I was one of those people who scoffed derisively at the ‘foolish young ‘girl’ pop fans’ who believed that Green Day was actually punk. (Sorry about that Green Day fans, I’ve since been converted.)
Now, I know I am going to piss off some of my punk-purist friends, and they’re going to tell me that I have “totally lost the fucking plot” but… (oh my god, this is so hard to admit) I really like MOD SUN’s album Internet Killed the Rockstar.
THERE…I’ve said it! I’ve outed myself, but do you know what? I don’t fucking care. Mod Sun is one talented bastard!
MOD SUN is the ‘new hot thing’ right now (if you believe the commercial music press) and if you haven’t yet heard of him, well, now’s your chance to broaden your punk horizon.
Born as Derek Smith, MOD SUN (an acronym standing for “Movement on Dreams, Stand under None”) began his musical career as the drummer for various post-hardcore bands including Four Letter Lie and, for a short time he was in Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
Mod Sun experimented with his music after Scary Kids split and he got into rap, hip hop and eventually pop-punk. Recently he has worked with Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne and Blink 182‘s Travis Barker.
Whether you like Internet Killed the Rockstar or not doesn’t matter, because with or without your help I’m pretty sure it will become 2021’s album of the year – and yes, I know it’s only February!
To prove my point in the five days since its release, it’s had nearly 16 million streams on Spotify alone – and in terms of cold hard cash in Mod Sun’s pocket that’s about oooh $350 (but shite streaming royalties are a conversation for another day)
Internet Killed the Rockstar sees MOD SUN heading back to his punk roots but he’s fused it with his more hip hop vibe of recent years.
The album gets off with a great start with ‘Karma’, an upbeat and infectious pop-punk ear-worm about telling your ex to fuck off.
“I hope you choke on every lie you said to me
I hope you move out of this city suddenly
I hope you get everything you deserve
Karma’s a bitch, I heard.”
I know that every Mod Sun Fan will be singing those lines at future gigs – once this poxy pandemic pisses off!
The second toon ‘Bones’ sees Mod Sun slowing down the tempo a little giving fans the opportunity to turn on their phone’s torch and wave it slowly in the air. The song is about, holding-fast when it feels that everything in your life is falling apart.
“It’s a long way down
When you’re losing faith
So hold on tight it’s a fast ride in the end”
Mod’s vocals and raw and emotional and the melody is simple and understated. This will have his fans sobbing for sure.
My daughter was a huge fan of Avril Lavigne when she was young and Avril is the reason why she’s a musician today – so it’s great to hear that Avril is getting her pop-punk princess back on with her soon to be released album.
But here on Internet Killed the Rockstar she features on the track ‘Flames’ another emotional pop ballad earworm (the album is full of earworms and probably should have been fumigated before its release) Another hit? Of course… it already is.
‘Betterman’, is one of my favourite tracks that aurally gives nod to Blink-182 and dare I say is the edgiest and least ‘poppy’ of the songs on the album.
In a Tweet to his followers, Mod Sun said: ” I wanted to create music that would get better every time u hear it… there’s really no formula for doing this, it’s all about magic…I truly believe “BETTERMAN” is a perfect example of that, so proud of this one.”
‘Smith’ is a very personal song for Mod Sun. Again, very poppy but also incredibly touching as it’s about his late father Dennis Smith who passed in April.
“There’s a song on my album that I’ve only been able to listen to three times including the day I made it….” Mod Sun shared on Twitter ahead of the song’s release. “It’s a tribute to my father who passed away last year and it was the most difficult piece of art I’ve ever made… RIP Dennis Smith”
In the song Mod Sun sings, “I never thought I’d miss you / Now I got all of these issues, since you’re gone / You left without a warning / I was all alone that morning, you were gone.”
I didn’t cry, but I think I got a bit of dust or something in my eye listening to this one.
John Feldmann has the Midus touch and everything he touches musically turns to gold (well, more like triple-platinum if you look at his record sales) Yet another reason why Internet Killed the Rockstar will, without a doubt, be a huge hit.
Internet Killed the Rockstar is very much a musical ‘autobiography” and Mod Sun takes you on a very personal journey through his life.
Pop-Punk is not yet dead – it’s very much alive in 2021 – and MOD SUN’s Internet Killed the Rockstar has just taken the pop-punk genre and given it a new refreshing twist.
To be honest, it really irks me that I like this album. I didn’t want to like it. I mean, I shouldn’t have liked it. But, no matter how many time I keep telling myself it’s not my kind of music – I find myself sneaking another listen. Damn you Mod Sun, you bastard! I hate you!
Punktuation’s Verdict: 4/5
Internet Killed the Rockstar is out now through Big Noise. Purchase here
More Mod Sun? Check out the links below
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I’m a London born and bred music journalist, a mediocre bass player and the occasional strummer of the guitar. In the ’80s I worked in recording studios and made a few records you’d probably recognise. I have written a couple of books and made the odd media appearance as a music commentator. I now call Brisbane home.