Album Review: BØRNS Transports Us Into His World With ‘Blue Madonna’

Personally, I think there’s a lot to be said about the concept of “weirdness” and being an eccentric– the people who are described as such tend to be the most creative. Some of the great geniuses of both history and modern times were considered eccentric– and I mean, where would we be without Matthew Gray Gubler and his amazing magician photos? So, on that note, if you aren’t listening to BØRNS— you’re missing out. Chances are, you’ve heard the Michigan native’s music before; his single “Electric Love” tore up the radio and tv spots alike back in 2015 with its infectious sound and BØRNS‘ somewhat seductive and androgynous vocals. Around the time of his debut album Dopamine (which garnered mass critical acclaim), he went on to tour with other acclaimed artists such as Bleachers, Charli XCX, The Lumineers, and Mumford & Sons.

After such a remarkable debut, fans and critics alike eagerly awaited the next release from the artist… which brings us to 2017. In July of last year BØRNS was back with the first single off of his then-upcoming sophomore album, “Faded Heart“. I was immediately charmed by the song and video alike– as the Gucci-clad singer danced around his psychedelic world filled with persistent ghouls dying for his love. The video is a campy delight– a B-movie cross between something Ed Wood and John Waters would have in a fever dream– and the song itself was the bubbly proof that BØRNS was back, and bigger than ever. Following “Faded Heart“, he then went on to release the groovy and infectious singles “Sweet Dreams” and “I Don’t Want U Back“, as well as his collaboration with angelic songstress Lana Del ReyGod Save Our Young Blood“– ushering in the release of his long awaited second LP Blue Madonna on January 12th.

Blue Madonna as a whole is very much the fever dream of “Faded Heart“‘s video, but with more of a spiritual haze surrounding each lyric rather than a type of panic. Playing on his strengths as a songwriter as well as the strengths of Dopamine, BØRNS creates a world independent of time; a dream wherein the vintage past exists along side the shiny future. The inventive nostalgia makes for an interesting cross between Marc Bolan-era rock and complete synth sensory overload that sucks you into a glittery ride of a daze. Definite highlights from the album (beyond the before mentioned singles) are tracks like “We Don’t Care“: a bouncy and psychedelic celebration of love to the tune of contagious glam rock; “Man“: a track full of longing that begs you to dance with its effervescent instrumental in the same vein of bands like Fitz & The Tantrums; and “Supernatural“, which travels through the dreamscape with a large sound you can’t help but float through as BØRNS searches both the heavens and earth for insight. Other tracks worth noting are ones like “Tension (Interlude)“– a summery and festival-ready delight– as well as the tracks “Iceberg” and titular “Blue Madonna“– both of which dive head first into the haze and confusion to get high on the divine.

Overall, Blue Madonna seems to reflect more of an exploration for BØRNS than anything else– which the dream-like sound reflects. In a journey of self-exploration, preservation, and expression, BØRNS has let us into his world as well as his head while he figures it all out. It all makes for quite the psychedelic adventure down a masterfully painted dreamscape, while leaving plenty of room for growth for the future. If an album is one part of a hero’s adventure, then Blue Madonna is but BØRNS‘ journey; who knows what or when the destination will be, but if it’s his story then it’ll be one hell of a trip.

Last modified: January 26, 2018