BØRNS Again: Singer releases sophomore album

The singer is still in the beginning stages of his career, but it seems as if he already knows exactly what he wants to produce. (Twitter/@bornsmusic)

For fans and followers, it seems like it’s been forever since BØRNS has released new music. After the release of Garrett Borns’ first album, he went on a traditional tour. Now, he’s back and with a velvety, new album for everyone to tear apart. “Blue Madonna” is Borns’ second studio album and is as extravagant and sexually focused as the first. With hits like “American Money,” “Electric Love” and “10,000 Emerald Pools” the world couldn’t wait to see what Borns thought up in that time in the studio.

Michigan has managed to produce an indie-pop, disco and rock conglomerate in the form of singer-songwriter Borns, despite its roots in folk artists more along the lines of Sufjan Stevens. Of course, even upon first glance Borns doesn’t seem like the type to stick to the norm.

With his Bowie-inspired fashion sense, Borns garnered attention from The Council of Fashion Designers of America and was invited to be one of the Men’s Week Ambassadors at last year’s New York Fashion Week. The Michigan native marked his rise into the public eye and gained a spot on the playlists of celebs like Taylor Swift with the release of his single “10,000 Emerald Pools” in 2014 and his debut album “Dopamine” in 2015.

On his newest release, Borns sings a duet with the crooning songstress, Lana Del Rey in “God Save Our Young Blood.” The song could have been a hit if their voices were not matched so perfectly. Though not identical, both Borns’ and Del Rey’s falsettos have that strained, airy quality that sounds as if they are pushing to the very edge of their vocal range. Alone, those voices sound beautiful, like in Del Rey’s “Off to the Races” and in Borns’ “Sweet Dreams,” for example. Together, they sound  monotonous as if one is mimicking the other.

In the title track, Lana Del Rey also provides background vocals. The album cover places Borns dressed extravagantly against a rich, blue background which is similar to the scarf that drapes the Virgin Mary’s face in the famous Carlo Dolci painting “Blue Madonna.” Borns’ lyrics are also inspired by the painting.

While his songs are very danceable and catchy, lyrics are not often Borns’ strong suit. That is made apparent in the chorus of Blue Madonna which says, “Blue Madonna in my head now/Blue Madonna in my bed now/Blue Madonna Cherry red now in this light.”

“Sweet Dreams”  has to be the most psychedelic-sounding track on the album, making it the most Borns-sounding song on the album. Ironic, considering this album had an array of all the genres he dabbles in. “Sweet Dreams,” while very simplistic in terms of the lyrics, is very intricate and melodious in the instrumentation and the structuring. The chorus is dream-like with Borns singing in a beautifully mastered tone, “You didn't even call to wish me sweet dreams/Really thought we made a sweet team/But don't cry, can't you see that you're a love of mine?”

The singer is still in the beginning stages of his career, but it seems as if he already knows exactly what he wants to produce. That’s great because he has something for everyone. While the sounds in his album were very diverse and outside of the box, some of them failed to connect to each other which is detrimental because cohesiveness is important for an album with such a specific theme and vision.

Rating: 4/5


Kanthalina Andreus is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kanthalina.andreus@uconn.edu.