Although the face might be unfamiliar to some, Modsun is the epitome of an underdog, with Internet Killed the Rockstar being Modsun’s fourth studio album. Produced by legendary producer John Feldmann, who has worked on Blink 182, All Time Low and Sleeping With Sirens records and is well respected in the pop-punk community.
Starting out in pop-punk and post-hardcore bands, Modsun then developed a rap career and has now returned to his roots at a pivotal time in music history, with this pop-punk revival, seen with Machine Gun Kelly, YungBlud and even Willow Smith dabbling with the much-loved genre.
Internet Killed the Rockstar was released on February 12th 2021 with the epic first single being ‘Karma‘ which is the first track on the album. It’s an anthemic f*** you to an ex. There is a powerful air of solidarity created with the clustered vocals and rich guitar and drums. It’s a brilliantly balanced sonic exploration of soft and hard instrumentation, it welcomes the listener to the album’s overall sound.
Straight into ‘Bones’, an eery, raw, emotional farewell to that familiar, familial connection you have with someone. The building drums heighten the lyrical impact.
Then there’s the album’s most successful single, ‘Flames‘ featuring Avril Lavigne. These two voices complement one another, with Avril’s sweet but strong chest voice and Mod’s raw, raspy big vocals, their harmonious energy tells this love story.
Mod drummed on every song on this album, his versatile style evident as the album progresses. In Flames we’ve got a classic snare, military beat that builds with a crescendo, to that little 808 bassy interlude which shakes the song up enough to then see it out with Avril’s head voice repeating the epic chorus.
‘Betterman‘ opens with a guitar reminiscent of The Cure. It showcases Mod’s lyrical skill as well as vocal range. It’s a fun little emo track with a whining bridge and those iconic harmonies used in the genre.
Mod then pens an ode to recovery with ‘Prayer‘ The rapper has been very open about his struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol. We hear Mod vocally exploring his potential with this ballad. The instrumental has a meditative atmosphere which supports the title.
‘TwentyNUMB‘ is an odd little departure from the sound that encompasses the album up to this point. It’s extremely happy-clappy with an irksome little sliding vocal chorus. The consistent melody just feels a little lazy to me. A cool song to put together up at a party, but for me feels like the odd one out on this record.
The second ballad ‘Smith‘ was written by Mod about the passing of his late father a year prior. Again, I really enjoy the drums on this one. Mod’s got great control of symbols and knows when to use them for maximum effect. The beautiful sentiment and potential metaphor ‘there will always be a room in my house for you’ is a powerful one.
Post Malone haunts the next track, ‘Rollercoaster’ which details Mod’s struggle with recovery, singing, ‘I’m so scared of the life that comes after you. I wish Post actually featured on this track, it would have been brilliant as the similarity is uncanny and they would have complemented each other. At this point, I start to realize the hip-hop underpinning of this album, it’s audible in Mod’s intonation and ad-libs as well the instrumentation. Overall, this nice little marriage of the two styles is right up my street.
Having said that, ‘Annoying‘ really steps into that pop-punk style with another little secret visit from Ms. Avril Lavigne. It’s not clear why she isn’t listed as a feature on this one but these quirky wonders of albums are what makes it intriguing and gives it life.
‘Pornstar’ sounds as though it should have been on one of Mod’s previous albums. It doesn’t fit at all and is repetitive as hell. Again, because of its annoying catchy melodies and repetition of ‘pornstar’ is just not something I would choose to put on and vibe with.
The titular track ‘Internet killed the Rockstar’ thematically concludes the album. The record predominantly covers love, relationships, addiction, and recovery. This last track sounds like a summary of all those topics that served as a pretext for Mod’s real message, that he’s not interested in living up to the reputation that he built for himself as a crazy drug-fueled party monster, but rather that, the idea of the ‘rockstar’ is quite simply achieved by living your truth and stepping into your potential.