BØRNS album “Blue Madonna” was released the second week of this month featuring the hit single “God Save Our Young Blood” with guest vocals by Lana Del Rey. BØRNS is comprised of musician Garrett Borns from Michigan who only a few years ago popped up in the popular music scene with the EP “Candy” released by Interscope (Spotify). BØRNS music is a synthesis of electro-pop with familiar disco and funk roots and rhythms that provide for groovy party tunes. The previous album “Dopamine” from 2015 included recognizable tracks “10,000 Emerald Pools”, “Electric Love” and “American Money”. “Dopamine” is an album that explodes with infectious beats and catchy lyrics centering around desire and pleasure which reflects the albums name, dopamine being the chemical process by which humans feel pleasure or reward. “Blue Madonna” runs a similar route as “Dopamine” in which pleasure is sought after but is more articulated and defined as possibly multiple romances that take place during different times of the year.
Tracks that stand out to me on “Blue Madonna” include “God Save Our Young Blood”, “Faded Heart”, “Sweet Dreams”, “Iceberg” and “Blue Madonna.” These particular tracks feel like solid chill hits that are easy to dance to while the lyrics get stuck in your head for their simplicity. What is interesting about “Blue Madonna” as an album is that it references the virgin Mary from Christian religions. In the first track “God Save Our Young Blood” featuring Lana Del Rey the catchy tune has lyrics to match the albums name: “God save, God save our young blood…God save the ocean, God save the breeze, Save the words from my lips, save the birds, save the bees…” (genius.com). This message begins with the first track and is interwoven throughout the rest of the album, mixing love and passion that may not be religious in the traditional sense but probably devotionally lustful.
The use of the Virgin Mary as a muse or reflective surface in which women, love, desire and passion are discussed is not a new concept but has been a predominant focus of male-produced art — especially literature and music — for a long time. This connection between God, religion and the Blue Madonna to real passions reminds me of James Joyce’s book “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” in which the main character Stephen Dedalus is constantly comparing women to the Virgin Mary and idealizing female figures in romantic and unrealistic ways. In more simplistic terms BØRNS lyrics about desire and passion are mimetic to the ways in which Lana Del Rey focuses her songwriting on romantic male figures in her Americana pop mysticism. For these reasons, I was not surprised that Lana Del Rey was featured on select tracks on this album. Both artists’ interests in passion and devotion are two sides of the same coin.
Where Lana Del Rey and BØRNS differ I believe is in the overall message in both their latest albums. For Lana Del Rey and her “Lust For Life” album released last year, the focus was on the future of America in terms of politics. While Lana Del Rey’s song “When The World was At War We Just Kept Dancing” talks about dancing with world troubles on our minds, BØRNS song “God Save Our Young Blood” hints at hoping to be saved in more ways than one with an apathetic I-am-dancing-as-the-world-falls-apart-and-I-don’t-care undertone. Overall BØRNS “Blue Madonna” is worth a listen and I think it is a prime example of ways in which artists choose to evoke passion and romance in strange times even when it is harkening back to a time of religious devotion and the idealizations of the female figure.
Alina’s Rating: 3.5/5
“Blue Madonna” available on itunes or Spotify
Go to https://www.bornsmusic.com/ for tour dates and ticket prices.