Campbell Waldron brings a textural Gen-X throwback sound to the forefront with his single “TV Screen.” The Santa Barbara native who currently resides in Norway has certainly lived an eclectic life. First playing the electric guitar at the age of twelve, his life has been marked by a series of setbacks ranging from multiple injuries to his arm that have prevented him from playing guitar, a high school live performance he’s dubbed a “train wreck”, turning to music tutors who’d ultimately let him down before ultimately finishing art college in 2016.
This wasn’t however, the light at the end of his tunnel as he felt a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction and found himself broke often and sleeping on the street. I personally don’t believe that suffering is necessary to create good art, but it’s undeniable that these experiences have fed directly into Waldron’s artistic voice. “TV Screen” from it’s opening electric guitar strums sounds reminiscent of rock acts of the 90’s like Smashing Pumpkins or Green Day and I don’t know if it’s by design or purely coincidental, but it effectively sets the tone for the multiple grievances that Waldron aims to air out. Waldron argues for the condemnation of drug dealers (ironic considering Waldron did spend some time using and selling), war mongers, and laments that despite all of these problems, there doesn’t seem to be any solutions as he begs to find answers as to what to keep living for. Like I said, how can you not correlate his own experiences to the track?
Waldron has studied various genres and styles over his life, but he chooses to display a welcome restraint as the track is stripped down to the bare essentials, but unfortunately sometimes the mixing can overpower his vocals, muddying lyrical comprehension. Speaking of, the lyrics are your very standard “what’s the point?” fare that goes perfectly in line with the grunge aesthetic he’s going for. While the lyrics might not be very insightful generally, you can tell it comes from a deeply personal place considering Waldron’s life. I think it should be implored more often that audiences take the time to learn more about the artist as a person as it can uncover new light that reflects their music.
This isn’t to say that learning about an artist can give their music a free pass, but it certainly can help enrich the overall listening experience. One of my biggest takeaways from the track is that Waldron is certainly angry at those who’ve taken life at face value and have mutilated it’s gifts (like I said, it’s hard to disassociate this information when you know about his life) with lines like “Everyone who took the world for what it’s worth, I know a place where they can burn.” While the track is low key and almost has a welcome hazy quality to it, like coming out of a depression, the anger that resides in it is palpable. On the outside it would be easy to dismiss it as some kind of Nirvana clone, but when you really sit with it and unpack it, it presents itself as something wholly distinct and now that Waldron seems to be relying on himself solely as a method to present his voice, it’ll be exciting to see what he tackles next.
The music of Campbell Waldron has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com