One of the surest ways to know that somebody is pissed off about reviews is when they sing “I don’t give two fucks about your review.” “The Modern World” is an attack on The Jam’s critics, teachers and basically all the adults that, perhaps, suggested they’d never make it. It was their third (of eighteen) straight top 40 single in England.
Released as the lead single from their second album, 1977’s This is the Modern World, the song maintains the power of The Jam’s punk take on mod. There’s a certain naivety in the lyrics’ piss and vinegar that makes it charming. I want to shake teenage Paul Weller’s hand and say “good for you, kid.” He’s actually older than me now and I wonder if he listens to this song and is, perhaps, slightly embarrassed for the lyrics.
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in regards to the music.