I never thought I’d be writing about Avril Lavigne getting back to her punk rock roots in 2021, but here we are. Although I haven’t heard of Mod Sun before this (and I do find his aesthetic admittedly a bit jarring), I must say this song is catchy and very fun. I also really like the way their voices blend. While hers is melodic and floats above the sonic mix, his is grittier and more intense. His voice reminds me a great deal of eccentric alternative rocker Yungblud (from what I’ve heard anyway – I don’t follow his music either).
The song opens with a chord or two that immediately reminds me of Aguilera’s 2002 hit song “Beautiful”, but that’s where the similarities end. This song hits hard, with a driving drum beat, palm-muted electric guitar, and pithy lyrics outlining the drama experienced between two separated lovers sorting out their emotions.
“Up in flames / I still burn for you” is the center of the narrative. It shows how sometimes the act of breaking up ironically causes a lot of the pain to continue. Similarly to the mix of very tonally-different vocals, the instruments mimic this paradox well. This is seen clearly through clean piano chords and ambient lead guitar notes clashing against distorted, muddier guitar. Rhythmically, the rapping is a lot slower than other rappers I’ve heard, but in my opinion, that’s so much better so the listener can actually make out what is being sung.
“Falling to the leaves like snowflakes / I almost wished we never happened” is probably my favorite lyric of the song, because it shows the beautiful hot-and-cold imagery. This is very indicative of a complicated relationship, and I think it’s a tangible simile that most people can relate to. I also love the way the song is structured, with a call-and-response form that allows both vocalists to sing almost “at” each other, truly playing the parts that the narrative suggests.
The closest comparison I can bring this to is the team up between Hayley Williams from Paramore and B.O.B. released in 2010. In my mind, that song is pretty legendary, and although this song only just came out today, there is definitely so much potential for it to take off.
Although I cannot vouch for anything else by Mod Sun, I do like this song. The lyrics are surprisingly pretty clean too, which is a nice bonus. If you’re a big fan of Avril Lavigne like I am, I would definitely recommend this song. You can take a listen to “Flames” HERE.
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