When BØRNS‘ new track God Save Our Young Blood hit us early on this year, it hit like a whiff of fresh air to ring in 2018. Not only did he manage to perk old Lana Del Rey up, there was something quite kinetic about Garrett Borns’ approach to pop, one that pervades his new album Blue Madonna.
Glam-pop is a pretty tough act to embrace and pull off though, given that there’s always the real danger of ending up sounding like The Darkness. Mercifully BØRNS manages to stay above that perilous water, his androgynous vocal serving him rather well on Sweet Dreams before launching into some piano-driven wonder on Man. It’s everything BØRNS does well: shuffling beats, great progression, and a sense of unpredictable kinetics within songwriting confines.
There’s a decent nod to the past as well, for example the Bangles and sitar backbeat of We Don’t Care. BØRNS doesn’t shy away from his plundering of his influences but it does make us wonder: is this the right climate for BØRNS and this genre? Probably not, to be honest, given everyone’s salivating over other, ostensibly ‘cooler’ stuff at the moment.
But it’s so wonderfully refreshing that we can’t help but embrace songs like Iceberg with its experimental lean, the soaring psychadelia of Supernatural, or the more straightforward hit-in-waiting I Don’t Want U Back. It may not all work, but the intro and triumphant final act are enough to make BØRNS worth your time in the current male-pop trough of banality.