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BØRNS: Five Essential David Bowie Albums

BØRNS, aka Garrett Borns (photo by Lauren Dukoff, PR)

BØRNS, aka Garrett Borns (photo by Lauren Dukoff, PR)


Garrett Borns, who records as BØRNS, was raised far from David Bowie's native London, growing up along the Michigan coastline. Borns eventually moved to Los Angeles, where about forty years earlier, Bowie darkly entwined himself in the clubby, glam-and-drugs scene there for ten months before escaping to Switzerland for a spell.

Unlike Bowie, Borns chose to live in a treehouse and embarked on a not-quite-as-decadent pop odyssey, releasing his fine debut album, Dopamine, last fall. Thanks to his Candy EP, BØRNS appeared on FUV's radar early on—we taped a mini-session with him at SXSW in 2015—and he played an FUV Live session for us in Studio A too.

Borns has covered David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" extensively in his live sets—a supple, tender take on that song from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. So when we asked BØRNS if he'd compile his Five Essential David Bowie Albums for us, we weren't too surprised to find that album in his top five picks.

BØRNS' Five Essential David Bowie Albums:

Hunky Dory
This is Bowie's fourth studio album and one of my all-time favorites. The arrangements of the songs are complex with sporadic key changes, strange pop melodies, and wildly heady lyrics, but everything is so palatable and easy on the ears. I've been very inspired by the construction of these songs and continue to pick them apart with fascination.

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
These songs are passionate croons about those glorious inner demons. It feels like a fearless album to me, lots of disjointed elements—like atonal guitar riffs, guttural vocal takes, and Japanese spoken-word voiceovers—make this one of his most intriguing and haunting records.

Let's Dance
Two completely different worlds of musical influence collided on this record. The disco aficionado Nile Rogers from Chic co-produced and brought a new life to Bowie's repertoire. It's inspiring watching interviews of Rogers talking about the creative process. The title track "Let's Dance" apparently started as slow acoustic song written by Bowie and Rogers invited it to the discotheque.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
When I first moved to L.A. this album was on repeat in a treetop guesthouse I was living in. I felt like I crash landed my hovercraft in the hills and everything was strange, new, and beautiful. I always associate this record with the beginnings of a new life and a new headspace.

This album completed Bowie's discography with such honesty and wise inventiveness. It's full of his one-of-a-kind eerie melodies, synthetic languages, and all around, it's a beautiful farewell. I get chills every time I listen to the title track "Blackstar" but not because Bowie is gone: because his presence feels closer than ever before.