I would venture to say that I am not in the same demographic this album is geared towards. I am a 49 year old male who does not frequent dance clubs or listen to much pop radio, but you what? I don’t care. I am really digging this album and the fact I say I am digging this album proves I am not the audience for this music.
The album ‘Blue Madonna’ is BØRNS second full length studio release and a follow-up to his 2015 stellar release ‘Dopamine’. With a name like BØRNS, the sound of his music and his whole style, I thought he was some European act that was breaking in America. Boy, I was wrong. He is actually from Michigan and a full on American.
He has his own style for sure as you can see by that amazing outfit on the cover. I am no where cool enough to pull off that look. BØRNS has a whole androgynous vibe about him as well with his hair, his clothes and his very high vocal range which adds to his mystique. His falsetto will leave Adam Levine very jealous. Now I guess I should talk about the music.
The sound and sonic vibe of the album is a mixture of pop, psychedelic pop and electro-pop. The album is a little moody and dark at times. This is definitely not something I am normally drawn to, but there is something about his songs that attracts me to it. Ever since I heard his first hit “Electric Love” back in 2016, I have been a fan. And with his first single off the album, “Faded Heart”, I was anticipating another great album and I wasn’t disappointed.
The opening track, “God Save Our Young Blood”, features the very talented Lana Del Rey on vocals and the two give a an outstanding duo performance on the song. The voices blend well together in an almost brooding fashion.
“Faded Heart” jumps in next and is one of the more upbeat songs on the album. A good dance track that pulls you in and causes you to get out of your chair, move around and sing along. But don’t get dancing too much because the next song, “Sweet Dreams” is a hypnotic lullaby that has BØRNS singing at his best. One of the top tracks on the album. The bass on this song is one of the musical highlights of the song.
“We Don’t Care” picks it back up slightly and gets you moving again. I love the laissez faire attitude of the song with lines such as “The world is on fire and we don’t care”. Another fun, great dance song. The song actually has a little guitar work at the end that adds a little to the song as well.
“Man” keeps it going with a song that seems to be about hooking up with someone as the lyrics go “If the world’s gonna end, I wanna be your friend / When the lights go dim
I wanna be your man”. I am good with that as you might as well go out with a “bang” (see what I did there).
The only song I am somewhat lukewarm about is “Iceberg”. The song is too slow at the beginning and the lyrics didn’t really connect with me. By the end of the song, musically it really picks up. Great bass line and some fine drums, but I think it takes to long to get there so not my favorite.
My other favorite song on the album is “Second Night of Summer”. I mentioned how Adam would be jealous of BØRNS falsetto, this is a perfect example of that. And funny thing, the song actually reminds a little of a Maroon 5 in its styling and pacing.
“I Don’t Want U Back” is a slower track where he really does sound like a girl on this one, but in a good way. It is a softer sound and really has a nice tone to it. It feels like a little R&B vibe to it. Next up is “Tension” which is an interlude and only 1:34 in length. Not a real song so I won’t judge it other than to say not sure it is necessary.
One of the cooler tracks on the album is “Supernatural”. I say it is cool because it features the use of a theremin played by Armen Ra. What is a theremin you ask? It is a piece of equipment that you play without touching it…what??? You wave your hands around the machine and the placement near the antenna’s determines the frequency and the volume. Here is what it looks like.
The song also has a Bee Gees quality to it with the vocals and the music (not including the theremin. It is really a great song.
We are finally to the title track, “Blue Madonna”. It is another song that has Lana Del Rey although she is not featured, she contributes to the chorus and backing vocals. It is one of the shorter songs on the album and is just missing something. I do think Lana’s vocals add to the sone, but it is not enough to keep my attention.
The album ends with “Bye Bye Darling” which is a more piano based song. There is a gracefulness to the song and a softer, pleasant feel that also leaves you sad that it is time to say goodbye to the album. Good thing you can start it over and listen to it all again because you will.
- “God Save Save Our Young Blood” (feat. Lana Del Rey) – Keeper
- “Faded Heart” – Keeper
- “Sweet Dreams” – Keeper
- “We Don’t Care” – Keeper
- “Man” – Keeper
- “Iceberg” – Delete
- “Second Night of Summer” – Keeper
- “I Don’t Want U Back” – Keeper
- “Tensions (Interlude)”
- “Supernatural” – Keeper
- “Blue Madonna” – Delete
- “Bye Bye Darling” – Keeper
9 keepers out 11 songs – 82% (4.0 out 5.0 stars) I have to say this album was a pleasant surprise and a great way to start the 2018 year in music. BØRNS falsetto vocals, the dream-like styling of a lot of the songs, the danceability of others made this album really enjoyable from beginning to end. This is the type of pop music I could really enjoy. It is not a bunch of formula driven songs being forced down your throat by radio. It is more artsy and unique and actually is filled with talent. You can’t say that about a lot of today’s music. Give it a try and let me know what you think.