Music Quickspins

QUICKPSINS: Avril Lavigne – Love Sux

Three years after releasing Head Above Water, Avril Lavigne returns with a new album that makes us feel like we’re back in the early 2000s.

Avril Lavigne shows growth and more maturity in her seventh studio album Love Sux. But her new tracks still remind us of some of her classic songs like “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated” given the dominating presence of drums and electric guitar.

Love Sux takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, as if the album was written and produced after a breakup, with the intention to show the raw emotions and stages Lavigne went through to process it. This can be heard in the title track, with lyrics like “Na-na-na, not another breakup” and “Lying in my bed, thinking love sucks.”

The album starts off on an angry and almost sarcastic note. This is heard in “Bite Me,” in which Lavigne sings “You should’ve known better, better to f*ck with someone like me” and “Forever and ever you’re gonna wish I was your wifey.” The record calms down sonically on the fourth track, “Love It When You Hate Me,” with the sarcasm stapling in as a common theme again with the following track “Love Sux.”

Lavigne introduces a much slower beat in the second-to-last track of the album “Dare To Love Me,” making it seem like she seems to be processing her feelings better, and accepting them. But she goes back to a faster rhythm and louder singing in the last song “Break Of A Heartache.” This could be her way of showing more anger and tying the last song to the first.

The album’s description on Apple Music says that back in 2002, the then 17-year-old “angsty” artist was “articulating adolescent rage.” The album description goes on to situate this theme within Lavigne’s modern career, saying that “these frustrations never really go away, so you might as well have some fun writing about them in the process,” even at 37 years old.

Not only does her new album take us on all these ups and downs with her, but it seems like we’re moving in circles, going from fast-paced songs to slower ones and back. Nevertheless, the story she tells from the beginning is consistent and has an ending.

Lavigne begins the first track with “Like a ticking time bomb / I’m about to explode / And motherf*ckers, let’s go,” ending the final song with “And not this time, motherf*cker, so I guess it’s goodbye.”

While Lavigne’s fans back in the 2000s were discovering all sorts of emotions with her, they probably aren’t going through that now. But those who decided to join her on this emotional ride with Love Sux ended up getting the message that no matter how old you are, feelings and emotions can be chaotic. This is something Lavigne has made clear all throughout her journey.

Whether you relate to her exact experience or you just want a throwback to the good ol’ times, this album does the job. But if you’re looking for Lavigne classics, you’d be better off listening to her old songs. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe they were just better, but nothing will hit the same way as the material on her first album Let Go.


Score: 8/10

Trial track: “Love It When You Hate Me”


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Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: MOD SUN – Internet Killed The Rockstar

MOD SUN mixes anger with irony to express his emotions in his new album

About three years since the release of his third studio album, MOD SUN’s Internet Killed The Rockstar came out on Feb.12. Although he has released a few singles over the past two years, this is his first album since becoming sober in 2019.

His previous albums were more focused on rapping, so there was a huge shift in style on Internet Killed The Rockstar. His music is a bit less cheery and more personal, but the sarcastic lyrics make up for it.

The first three songs, “Karma,” “Bones,” and “Flames” (featuring Avril Lavigne), are reminiscent of an early 2000s pop-punk feel, which is a good preview of what the rest of the album looks like.

The overall character of this record lies between anger and sarcasm, which fits the grunge vibe MOD SUN was going for. It can be heard in the more upbeat songs where drums and electric guitar are prominent, such as “Karma,” “TwentyNUMB,” and “Pornstar.”

“Karma” opens the album’s edgier side, as the track’s anger feels like it could be directed at a particular person. The lyrics are simple, yet straight to the point, which makes them powerful (“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”).

However, MOD SUN still manages to reel us into his world and life experiences, especially on slower songs like “Rollercoaster,” where he compares his sobriety to a rollercoaster ride (“Somebody get me off this ride / I’m no good when I get this high”). He’s sharing his battle with everyone, but it also sounds like he was saying it to himself and trying to accept that he was struggling to become sober.

On “Smith,” he sings about his deceased father. While the song is slower-paced than most, and piano can also be heard, the drums are also pronounced and give the song an angry (rather than sad) vibe. This is especially recognizable in the bridge where MOD SUN sings “Your love left me so fucked up / You left me so fucked up,” and then screams “you left me.”

He collaborated with Avril Lavigne on “Flames,” and while the beat is good and catchy, there are only two short verses, which makes it seem like the song solely consists of the chorus and post-chorus, making the lyrics a bit too repetitive. This is the only official collaboration between the two artists, but Lavigne’s vocals also seem to be heard as backup in “Annoying.” This adds more dimension to the song as their voices mix well together.

The album ends with “Internet Killed The Rockstar,” which is a slower-paced song. MOD SUN seems like he is blaming someone who used the internet, and perhaps, social media, to “kill the rockstar,” which could refer to someone trying to end his career. The lines “I know what it’s like to be hated / From a city where nobody else feels like me / I had the whole world in my head,” can be interpreted as him saying that while he used to feel judged and hated, he no longer cares about what people think.

Overall, MOD SUN accomplished what he wanted to with this album, which was to express feelings of anger and maybe some sadness, mixed with irony. The use of loud drums throughout the record also definitely helped to convey this edgy feel.

This new style on Internet Killed The Rockstar is just the beginning of MOD SUN’s career after sobriety, as he shows that he can successfully pique his listeners’ curiosity and interest — to not only hear about his music, but also his life.


Rating: 7.5/10

Trial Track: “TwentyNUMB”


Meet Midsplit, EDM’s newest challenger from Montreal

Up-and-coming electronic music producer and artist Midsplit talks about his road to the Canadian music scene. 

Memories of Avril Lavigne blasting in his headphones still brings a smile to the face of Maxence Pepin. He’s come a long way from those first pivotal moments of music in his life. Now a 22-year-old music producer living in Montreal, he’s following his dream of being the Avril in someone else’s ears.

Growing up in Montreal, Pepin had a normal childhood. His life was spent in suburbia, as he took on normal tasks like working as a cook at an Italian restaurant and playing basketball with friends on a local court.

With the support and encouragement of his parents, he made the difficult choice to drop out of school and pursue his true passion: music production.

With the help of Dutch producer Steve Void, Pepin found his way through the obstacles of being an artist in the Canadian music industry. Electronic and house music maker Kayliox was Pepin’s local hero, and like Void, helped him gain the confidence he needed. Hard work and patience has paid off, as Maxence now produces and performs under his artist name, Midsplit.

After writing a song for a close friend going through a difficult time, Pepin discovered that making music had a genuine impact on those around him, and showed him why music mattered.

His first song released, “Either Way,” was a powerful, lyrically-driven song with eclectic production as he combined chill tropical house and trap for the first time. This sound made Pepin want to expand and pursue a real production career and get outside of his bedroom.

Like most people, Pepin has had his fair share of heartbreak. In tune, he channelled some of those emotions in songs.

He released his debut album For My Future Past on Oct. 19. Pepin hopes the child inside of him never dies and uses this idea as the inspiration behind the new project. Pop, punk and R&B vibes can be expected throughout the record.

While simultaneously building a start-up in the tech world, managing and owning his own record label, and working on more music, the future looks bright for Pepin. As he continues to work with artists like BRDGS, A-SHO, and Casey Cook, Pepin’s dream of one day producing for Avril Lavigne will never be far from his mind.

We sat down with Pepin to dig deeper into who he is as an artist and a person.

The Concordian: Who was the first person to tell you that you were really good at the thing you loved to do?

Maxence Pepin: The first people were my parents, they have believed in me since day one. They let me drop out of university and live with them to create a balanced financial life and have time to create my craft. I am blessed!

TC: You just released “Where U Belong,” a song with fellow Canadian artist BRDGS, how did your relationship start? 

MP: We met through a mutual friend, A-SHO! We hung out while I was on a business trip in Toronto. When I came back home to the studio, BRDGS sent me a very cool demo titled Where U Belong, and the rest is history.

TC: Heartbreak and loss can be daunting and hard to move on from, what are some techniques you use to heal? 

MP: My last heartbreak was a very long time ago… like four years ago! I closed myself up because I was extremely hurt, I am a very emotionally-driven person. I started getting over my heartbreak after I opened up to my friends and family, talking about the pain and being told that it’s okay to be hurt really took me a long way.

I also might have helped write a couple of love songs in the meantime, but those songs will probably never see the light of day.

TC: Your debut album is For My Future Past. What can you tell us about this project? 

MP: For My Future Past is my way of dealing with nostalgia. I hate becoming an adult and I hope I can continue to be the man-child that I am (in a good way!). The album is very inspired by the music of my childhood, which was mostly pop-punk and R&B. I think there is something for everyone on the album as it has a very diverse and accessible sound, even if the inspirations might seem far-fetched the end result is very modern and crisp and super easy to listen to.

TC: What was the first song you produced that you really wanted other people to hear?

MP: The first song I was beyond excited to put out was “Either Way” with Casey Cook. The production was — at that time — the most innovative I had ever made and the lyrics were so powerful. I feel like at that moment I knew I was stepping out of my shell of being a bedroom producer and that I wanted to pursue a real production career.

TC: You don’t just produce for yourself. Recently you produced “Vicious Circles” by KARLI, among others. Who else are you writing with/producing for?

MP: A-SHO and KARLI wrote [Vicious Circles] a very long time ago. A duo friend of ours, Lucky Rose, made a really good demo out of it but they could never quite finish the song. So they ended up sending me the stems of what they had and I redid most of the production on the track.

Sometimes having someone outside the track is the best person to produce it as that person is not attached to a specific sound. I do quite a lot of productions for artists on my record label, Sadboy Records but I usually don’t build the whole songs, I’m quite good at finishing tracks. I would love to work with Charlotte Cardin or Avril Lavigne. I grew up blasting Avril’s music in my headphones and Charlotte is just pure artistic perfection to my taste.

TC: Is it easier to produce for yourself or for someone else?

MP: It is MUCH easier to produce for someone else as you are often far less attached to the end product. By no means is the end product ever bad but it is never exactly on-brand for what I enjoy putting out under my Midsplit alias.

TC: Who are people in music who have helped you? What are the obstacles of being a Canadian in music?

MP: I have received a lot of help from Steve Void, who is a Dutch producer. I have permanent respect for the helping hand he gave me in the music industry. Another important figure in my career is A-SHO, who I met through another important person named Kayliox. Kayliox gave me a lot of confidence on his live streams while he was touring the world and giving producers feedback on their tracks, funnily enough, I was (and still am) a huge fan of his and today we are very good friends! A-SHO taught me a lot about songwriting and the need to perfect my craft, to a point where I am compulsive about it. A huge obstacle of being a Canadian in music is that the local industry is very tough and very closed off, it’s very hard to get any recognition, especially in dance as there are so many Canadian artists for such a small country.


Photo Credits: Samuel Bourget Photography


Music In The News

Blu-Ray Way

The Beatles’ 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour will be receiving the DVD/Blu ray treatment come Oct. 9, when it will be reissued by the same folks who handled the Yellow Submarine reissue earlier this year. The film includes a wealth of bonus features, including a making-of documentary, interviews with the band, deleted scenes and director commentary by Paul McCartney himself. In celebration of this re-release, the film will receive a limited theatrical release on Sept. 27. If that’s still not enough, consider the Boxed Edition, which includes a 60 page booklet and a 7 inch vinyl as well as the film in both digital formats.


More Faith No More?

In an interview with, Mike Patton, the man behind such acts as Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, and Faith No More, said that the band considered writing new material, but ultimately decided against it. “We’re pretty happy with just touring. There was talk, ‘Should we write new stuff?’ and we all looked at each other and said ‘Nahhh, fuck it.’ We did work up one new little thing and that was really energizing.” That “new little thing” is a song called “Matador,” which the band has played in live shows over the last few months, footage of which can be found on YouTube.


Do we hear wedding bells?

Canadian pop music has a new couple to contend with, as Avril Lavigne and Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger have announced their engagement after keeping their relationship under wraps for six months. The pair met in February when they collaborated on a song for Lavigne’s upcoming fifth studio album. “A romantic relationship blossomed as they spent time writing together,” a friend of Lavigne’s told People magazine. Kroeger popped the question on Aug. 8 with a 14K diamond ring, and the couple’s families “couldn’t be happier.” Sharing in the joy were the pairs many detractors, who used the opportunity to alight the twittersphere in sarcasm. Said comedian Morgan Murphy on her twitter: “Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger have requested that in lieu of wedding gifts, everyone stop laughing uncontrollably at them.”


Bad Iver

Indie darling Bon Iver topped LA Weekly’s Worst Hipster Bands of All Time list, beating out groups like Arcade fire and the Black Keys for the top spot. Said the LA Weekly of the group: “Bon Iver coos the celebratory ballads of hip poseurs who refuse to get their hands dirty, that is, unless that filth is quaint and photogenic.” They were also decried as the “sonic equivalent of an empty canvas tote bag.” I’m sure wherever Justin Vernon is, he is crying all about it over his Grammys.


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