Thursday, July 15, 2021

‘Just another cog in the paparazzi machine’: Will Burton takes on celebrity culture, social media and the woes of modern life

Ahead of his upcoming EP ‘Modern Misery’, 22 year old artist Will Burton packs a simple yet powerful message into his debut single release. The impetus behind the EP as a whole is Burton’s self-professed annoyance at the malign influence celebrity culture and social media has had on our society. ‘Paparazzi Machine’ is above all a call to emancipate ourselves from the detrimental habits these influences breed. This opening track dropped on the 2nd of July and tackles the frustrations of our egocentric, technologically-driven modern existence in the form of a lively, grungy pop-rock anthem.


Brutally honest lyricism paired with a catchy guitar hook is what really allows ‘Paparazzi Machine’ to resonate with young listeners in particular, though alt-rock fans in general are sure to appreciate Burton’s diverse influences from across the genre. An early love of pop-punk bands like Busted and Lil Chris led to Will getting into rudimentary producing at 15 before seriously launching his music career after university. The London-based artist has since made the most of an enforced retreat from the live scene to finetune his own music from his home studio.


The debut track kicks off with a reverb heavy blur of what sounds like camera shutters and clamouring voices before the lead guitar and drums firmly take hold. The energy that follows is incredibly infectious as Burton pleads with the listener to release themselves from the vicious cycle of self-validation we endlessly perpetuate online. The toxicity of this cyber-culture is aptly summarised in the closing line of the chorus: ‘Even when obsession breeds depression we’ve got egos to feed’!


All the elements of the tune bar the drums were performed and mixed by Burton himself, testament to a real musical flair and adept production knowledge. From the uptempo swing of the guitar to the punchiness of the vocals, the track has a high energy, head-banging feel, set to the backdrop of fairly dark lyrics- reminiscent of a Greenday track. This marriage of poignant lyrics and no-nonsense rock is where ‘Paparazzi Machine really performs! It has all the fundamentals of a great live track. Keep your eyes peeled for Will Burton when live music can return to the state we know and love!


Oliver Hockings


Image: @Tom Roberts

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