If Mod Sun (aka Derek Smith) isn’t a name that you’re familiar with, there’s still a good chance that you’ve likely heard his work. Away from his solo material, he’s been a member of Four Letter Lie and Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and worked alongside blackbear and Machine Gun Kelly.
He’s now embarking of his latest solo offering, ‘Internet Killed The Rockstar’, 11 tracks reflecting on how modern day life has impacted both himself and the music culture.
Opener ‘Karma’ begins the album with an extremely strong start. This revengeful love song just oozes everything that was right with early 00s pop-punk, and unsurprisingly there’s strong elements of Blink-182 throughout. The high-energy chorus and idyllic sing-along chants are extremely catchy, and you’ll soon find yourself joining in.
Transitioning into ‘Bones’, the track very swiftly pulls back, likely an intentional track listing choice to let us know this isn’t just another pop-punk revival record and instead incorporates a much more mature sound, not to mention showcasing Mod Sun‘s vocal talents.
One of the standout moments on offer is the exceptional duet ‘Flames’ with Avril Lavigne. Their voices compliment each other perfectly, with Mod Sun combining rapping with heavier vocals whilst Lavigne‘s delicate piano additions expose the emotions within the lyrics.
One of the most notable factors of ‘Internet Killed The Rockstar’ is how difficult it is to pigeon-hole it into a particular genre. ‘TwentyNUMB’ and ‘Annoying’ are both chart-friendly pop hits that are bound to put a smile on your face, with the latter taking a refreshing tongue-in-cheek approach to a love song, and instead points out how much of an inconvenience falling in love can be.
On the flip side, there’s some truly beautiful ballads on offer too. ‘Prayer’, which unusually brings down the pace at the album’s midway point, demonstrates an incredibly vulnerable side to Mod Sun as he discusses his personal life and his past drug addictions, but how finding faith has helped him overcome those demons. ‘Smith’, a tribute to his late father, will be no doubt be felt by those who has lost a loved one.
Penultimate track ‘Pornstar’ is sure to catch you off guard. This somewhat comes across as a bit of a novelty track, and, depending on where you are in life may seem mildly cringy, but it’ll definitely grab your attention.
Unfortunately, it does pull the focus from the closing title-track, which is a standout all on its own. The choice to end with an angsty-teenage acoustic track hones in again on major nostalgic vibes, allowing the album’s theme of how the industry has changed due to modern technologies to really come full circle.
‘Internet Killed The Rockstar’ is the perfect example of how you incorporate both old and new audiences. It doesn’t necessarily offer itself as a cheesy pop-punk revival record, nor does it just try to incorporate guitars to an EDM beat. Instead, it balances the two so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.