BØRNS Captivates on Spirited Debut ‘Dopamine’ (Review)


BØRNS, Dopamine © Interscope

BØRNS • Dopamine • Interscope • Release Date: October 16, 2015

It’s difficult to breakthrough in 2015. That’s not an excuse, but it is the truth. Who can’t release an album these days with the power of recording right in the hands of a computer at home? Because prospective artists have increased and sales have decreased, become a lucrative artist is tough and more the rarity than the standard, at least in regards to albums themselves. Regardless whether Michigan bred, Cali based BØRNS breaks through or doesn’t, his major label debut Dopamine is worth checking out.

In regards to Dopamine, there’s plenty to adore about the album. BØRNS is clearly the restless, eclectic type, which bodes in his favor throughout. It also doesn’t hurt he has a cutting falsetto that’s nothing short of sick. This shines on the driving groove of “Electric Love” when he goes for ‘the kill’ on the chorus: “Baby you’re like lightning in a bottle / I can’t let you go now that I got it / and all I need is to be struck / by your electric love.”

On another standout, “Holy Ghost,” BØRNS gets a bit blasphemous – we’ve come to expect the secular and sacrilege these days. “Baby, baby, baby / I fantasize and I pray,” he sings on the lustful second verse, “I’m thirsty for your ecstasy / so open up your heavenly gates.” To his credit, a horny BØRNS admits his sins: “Let me satisfy your wide awake soul / no I don’t care if it’s blasphemy / cause baby, you’re my holy ghost.”

BØRNS later hits gold again on closer “Fool.” Anyone who didn’t stay the course of Dopamine would be a fool to skip out on the superb ending, where BØRNS goes all neo-disco. Lushly produced and hip, BØRNS couldn’t have asked for a better ending. “Oh, kinda crazy you’re making me / I can’t keep my mind off you / got me losing my cool / got me acting like a fool.”

Those are just three examples of the genius of BØRNS. Opener “10,000 Emerald Pools” does a fantastic job of setting the tone, showing off those mad pipes. It’s easy to fall under the spell of “American Money” as BØRNS serenades his girl sweetly singing, “So take me to the paradise / in your eyes / Green like American money / you taste just right / Sweet like Tennessee honey.” On “Clouds” the clarity of those same pipes is amazing, showing off an airy, pleasing vocal tone. Title track “Dopamine,” another clear winner, commands the dance floor and easily gets stuck in the head.

Ultimately, Dopamine is chocked full of alluring sounds, songs, and vocals from BØRNS. Dopamine may not be a game changer – or perhaps time will tell – but it certainly represents a captivating debut that should definitely please the alternative crowd. BØRNS, your restless creativity pays off.

Favorites: “Electric Love,” “American Money,” “Holy Ghost,” “Dopamine” and “Fool”

★★★★

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