Despite some contemporary reviewers feeling the record was rushed to capitalise on the success of In the City, the Record Mirror's Barry Cain wrote that "This Is The Modern World reflects a definite PROGRESSION (remember that?) a definite identity mold. Here Weller is making an obvious attempt at creating a Jam SOUND. He succeeds. Brilliantly". Likewise, Chas de Wally, from Sounds, claimed that although "people were trying to tell me that this was a lousy album and The Jam were all washed up, This is the Modern World is one of the best albums I've ever heard in a long time".
The US release had a different track order, included the "censored" single version of "The Modern World", and added the single "All Around the World" which was released in the UK between their first two albums. "All Around the World" had been their biggest UK hit to date, peaking at #13, a placement they would not match until 1979 when "The Eton Rifles" peaked at #3. Thereafter, no domestically released single by The Jam would ever reach a peak position lower than #4.
The only single from the album was the censored version of "The Modern World". While it was a minor hit, peaking at #36, it failed to capitalise on the success of "All Around the World".