by: Courtney Gould//
Derek Smith of Mod Sun once wrote that “sometimes you meet people who make you.” This quote is an excerpt from his original book of poetry released in 2015, titled My Dear Pink. Not only is it wise, but it’s quite evident in his relationship with his fans. Since My Dear Pink, Mod has been working day in and day out for the release of his second album, Movie. He decided to drop the album on his birthday, March 10th, 2017. With the help of his “friendbase” (this is how Mod addresses his fans), Mod Sun received the best birthday gift of all time: major support for Movie.
Those who are familiar with Mod Sun are aware of the positive and creative perspective he has on life. In the past, Mod has pieced together three mixtapes, three EP’s, four published books, and now two official albums. Although his style has progressed over time, the theme in his music remains consistent. In every piece of work he’s ever put out, he poetically shares the story of his life. Touching on the areas of celebration, love, and inspiration, Mod Sun remains organic and unlike many artists, keeps his guard down. His music inspires the audience to live their life in the most optimistic and authentic way. This concept of “unapologetically living your life” gets even more prominent throughout the anecdotes of Movie.
Opening the album with “Previews,” and in a soft female tone the narrator introduces a very thought-provoking idea, “They say right before you die, a movie flashes before your eyes.” For years, this vision has been running through his head. He explains that when he dies he wants to proudly re-watch his life like a movie. Basically, “Previews” is used as a teaser to build anticipation and excitement for the listener. As this intro progresses, the backbeats grow stronger and louder. This leads us into the lively second track, “We Do This Shit,” which will make you feel like you’re sitting in the passenger seat on a midnight cruise with Mod Sun himself. From the energetic beat to the carefree lyrics, this song is sure to become the party anthem of 2017.
The plot of Movie takes a slight turn during “She Just Wanna Dance” as Mod Sun succombs to love.This boozy slow-jam expresses the lust he feels for an eye catching stranger. There’s something striking about her, and he just can’t get her off his mind. He describes her as “that type of girl, nobody like that girl, type of girl to take over the mother-fucking world.” The admiration for this girl grows stronger as we lead into “You Are” (feat. Mansionz) and “Beautiful Problem” (feat. gnash and Maty Noyes). These pieces reveal how multidimensional this new relationship is. Mod admits that initially, he was not searching for love. However, his motive abruptly changed as she walked into his life. He labels this as his “beautiful problem.” Although he doesn’t need her, he loves her unconditionally and struggles to let her go.
Keep in mind that following the chronological order of Movie is key to fully comprehend Mod Sun’s story. The entire album is sonically divided into three different parts. Within seconds of “WWYGADT,” the narrator returns to lead us into “Part 2.” This second uncovers new side of Mod we haven’t seen before: savagery. The chaotic tempo of “WWYGADT” and “Smokin’ What I’m Smokin’” (feat. DRAM and Rich The Kid) depicts the rage that overcomes Mod Sun in certain situations. He discloses how he deals with the haters and anyone else who has doubted his journey. Rapping with his best vocabulary, Mod uses his bragging rights from all of his previous accomplishments to brush himself off.
Part three concludes Movie with “Make Somethin’ Of Yourself” and “End or Start Again?”. Here, Mod presents his final themes of self-doubt, motivation, and nostalgia. This chapter of the story majorly focuses on his deep and personal thoughts. He opens up to the audience emotionally, and starts contemplating whether or not he is capable of succeeding. He chooses to digest all of the criticism and channel his energy into improving himself, claiming “all I know is how to keep it moving, they try to stop me, I keep pursuing.” Overall, part three recaps every memory and emotion going through Mod Sun’s mind, so he can finally let go of his “beautiful problems” and truly accept himself.
For long term fans, it’s no secret that Movie was a bold move more Mod Sun. In the past he has always maintained this “golden hippie child” image where he preaches positivity and happiness. Even though his music still touches on these things today, he has broadened his horizons by speaking on the current personal struggles he’s still trying to overcome. He admits that just like us, he is only human. This new aspect of his music makes Mod Sun not only more admirable, but relatable. To keep things spicy, he alters his usual sound by incorporating hip hop influences into his beats and vocals. Collectively, Movie shows that Mod Sun has ditched his comfort zone to create a fun, expressive, and honest album for the world. As a bonus, he also released a short film titled “Album” that visually guides you through each song start to finish (available here).