Album Review: Børns’ ‘Blue Madonna’

Climbing synths, a cornucopia of instruments and a world of its own, Blue Madonna is a bold step into unearthed territory.

Garrett Børns, the Michigan-born popstar who is making his way in Los Angeles, today releases his sophomore record, Blue Madonna. It’s a sensual offering, full of dreamy lyrics and the unique sound fans have grown to love since debut album Dopamine in 2015.

Image: YouTube

Title-track ‘Blue Madonna’ is a tangible joy whose lyrics such as “Blue Madonna down by the pool” and “cooler than a strawberry shake”, backed up by the croons of high-flying friend Lana Del Rey, epitomise the strong aesthetic that the record boasts. The Courier Music sat down with Børns late last year when he reflected, “Music is just one aspect of the creativity that goes into making something. I was inspired by so many things that go into music like film, fashion and poetry. It all filters through my music.”

For newcomers to Børns’ work, Blue Madonna may take a few listens to truly appreciate but it is that refusal to abide by song-writing norms that makes it so spectacular. The songster released a short documentary titled ‘The Search For Lost Sounds’ last summer, in which he wanders around Los Angeles in a typically-Børns style. “I wanted to make a ‘making the album’ kind of video but I wanted to take it a few steps back before we even set foot in the studio. The world I’m living in LA is crazy and surreal. That’s where my inspiration comes from,” he tells us.

Those are the ideas behind the phenomenally clever opening track, ‘God Save Our Young Blood’ with Lana Del Rey. Those first sirens kick-off Blue Madonna superbly before the unexpected switch up in gears for a supercharged chorus.

Whilst maintaining his musing vocals, there is an incredible variety on Blue Madonna. Lead-single ‘Faded Heart’ is Børns’ most rock-infused effort to date with a fast-paced riff which crescendos into one of the best choruses we heard in 2017. That type of transition is the curveball Børns throws time and time again in this bold record.

“I think I was just in a completely different headspace. I had completely different ways about thinking of song writing, stories and using my voice as an instrument.” Dopamine was an impressive and confident debut effort but Blue Madonna outshines it with its multi-dimensional sounds. The almost retro chords of ‘We Don’t Care’ is foot-tappingly catchy whilst Børns laughs off “like I’m not cool enough” in the sassy ‘Second Night Of Summer’.

By the time final track ‘Bye-bye Darling’ strips back to the glorious non-lexical reveries of the final twenty seconds, you’re begging for more.

Other than ‘Blue Madonna’ itself, the singles ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘I Don’t Want You Back’ still stand out with an otherworldly quality transporting the listener into the universe of the record. By the time final track ‘Bye-bye Darling’ strips back to the glorious non-lexical reveries of the final twenty seconds, you’re begging for more.

Garrett Borns may still be flying under many people’s radar, but Blue Madonna warrants a whole lot of attention.

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