I have never been disappointed with BØRNS’ premier album “Dopamine.” With its engaging lyrics and varied tempo—ranging from the constant up beats of “Electric Love” to the smooth pops of “10,000 Emerald Pools” to the sultry funk of “American Money”—there is always a perfect fit for whatever dancing mood has consumed you. I expected more of the same with Garrett Born’s sophomore album “Blue Madonna.” It was released Jan. 12 after expectations built over last year’s single “Faded Heart.” My first run through was enthusiastic and pleasantly surprising. But by the second and third time I listened through, the tracks began running together into a confusingly sad yet poppy blur of synth and angst.
The album is repetitive in more ways than one. The tracks’ subject matter is almost exclusively a scorned or scorning lover. Unfortunately, Borns failed to find 12 different ways to express his emotions but insisted on putting them into 12 different songs. The album grants a reprieve from the aggressively pursued “getting over it” of “Sweet Dreams” and “I Don’t Want U Back” with “Iceberg.” Even this love song comes across more as an angst-ridden infatuation confession. It also suffers the excessive lyric repetition that runs a common thread throughout “Blue Madonna.”
Borns had a chance to diversify the album with Lana Del Rey’s feature in “God Save Our Young Blood,” yet the track seems to drag through its almost four minutes. The lyrics are delivered with a molasses-like delay without the southern comfort usually accompanying that metaphor. The brevity of the chorus makes it appear over-done by halfway through the song.
My loyalty to BØRNS, though, cannot be cut down completely. I have already found myself bopping through my walk to class with “Sweet Dreams” running through my head, and I have no doubt that any future romantic struggle will come with a big dose of the “Blue Madonna” fueled melodrama. For now, though, I’ll choose to rest my faith in the artist with “Dopamine,” which doesn’t require an exaggerated heartbreak to feel relevant.
Cover photo courtesy of Pitchfork.