Garrett Borns opened this new year by releasing the long overdue Blue Madonna album, following up the ethereal Dopamine of 2014. The band killed fans softly in 2017 by slowly releasing singles like “Faded Heart” and “Sweet Dreams.” No one was quite ready for it at the time, and I, for one, felt confused. I didn’t particularly like either of the new releases and felt less than hopeful for the new album, until, of course, it finally released.
During Børns’ Dopamine world tour, he advised his fans to “believe in your outer alien and inner grandma for extra living” — a nod to his personal style and character both on and off stage. He’s endearing...and that’s why we love him. Børns has been weird and electric from the moment he graced us with his presence half a decade ago, and the key is that he has remained this way.
Børns has come up with a new approach to express his inner nostalgia to his loving fan base. He’s still weird, but with a little more polish. He managed to catch Gucci’s eye and naturally their support (as shown in the new album cover). But what about the new music? Blue Madonna strongly resembles the iconic White Album by The Beatles. We like these albums, but we might have heard it all before. With several references to spirituality and the search for both the past and what’s to come, Børns’ productions orchestrate a dramatic marriage between nostalgia and futurism.
I must say, the sugar-coated glamour in Dopamine might have checked itself at the door as soon as Blue Madonna came around, offering instead a sort of conflictingly calming psychedelic frenzy. Favorite tracks on Blue Madonna include, “God Save Our Young Blood” sampling Lana Del Rey, “Bye-Bye Darling” (the most Beatle-esque track on the album), and “Blue Madonna.”
What continues to amaze me is that Børns is so much his own choir, literally and hypothetically. His voice somehow transcends human comprehension to bring his hearers into a completely other-worldly experience. He even suggested to his fans that they listen to the new album repeatedly on high volume so that they can fully partake of his new gift and be thoroughly “baptized in blue skies.”
Although Blue Madonna is a bit of a change, I look forward to following Børns’ music as he tours the United States once again. Maybe Børns’ faithful followers have all been growing over the years alongside him, and the new tunes will be just what we didn’t know we needed.