JAPANESE BREAKFAST – ” Jubilee ” Best Albums Of 2021

Posted: June 3, 2021 in MUSIC

Michelle Zauner returns with her third LP “Jubilee” as Japanese Breakfast but the big triumph and progression here is just all of it. The sound is more saturated, fuller, richer and deeper; it really is a beautifully crafted pop record, ecstatic with subtle hooks.

Michelle Zauner’s anticipated third album is coming out on June 4th via Dead Oceans. The last glimpse of the album we have already had the video for “Posing in Bondage” with Zauner entering an empty grocery store on a hoverboard, covered in blood, where she made an intimate connection with the clerk played by Girlpool’s Harmony Tividad. We never got the answers for her stone cold presence entering that eerie market, or why her chin was stained red, or why that connection with noodles and Tividad was so needed. But now, we do.

Japanese Breakfast Michelle Zauner wanted to find joy with her new album. The singer’s first two records under the moniker have been defined by difficult topics: 2016 debut ‘Psychopomp’ was written during her mother’s cancer treatment, with follow-up ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ created during the aftermath of her death. Both of those albums were created within a wash of psychedelic shoegaze, escaping present troubles in whirlpools of noise and stories from lightyears away.

From the get-go, third album ‘Jubilee’ displayed higher ambitions, both for Zauner personally and in the jubilant music that these messages are transmitted through. “How’s it feel to be at the centre of magic?” she sings amid a euphoric blast of horns on opening track ‘Paprika’, a statement that sets the album’s aims in stone: this is a personal and musical breakthrough from a singer destined for far, far bigger things.

First single ‘Be Sweet’ is a superbly catchy, ’80s-indebted pop smash, written with Jack Tatum from the band Wild Nothing. “I wanna believe in something!” Zauner sings at the end of its triumphant chorus.

Elsewhere, ‘Slide Tackle’ once again employs horns to transmit its euphoric personal breakthroughs, Even when things get musically darker on the shimmering alt-pop of ‘Posing In Bondage’, there remains a prioritisation of pop melody; the fat is trimmed from all 10 songs on the record, leaving perfectly formed three-and-a-half-minute pop songs that want. 

The latest single from Jubilee is titled “Savage Good Boy” and comes with an opulent video starring The Sopranos‘ Michael Imperioli. “I want to take care of you,” Zauner sings on the upbeat track. “I wanna make the money till there’s no more to be made.” She sings about wealth and security while draped in luxurious clothing. In one scene, Imperioli and her are playing cards—he wins, and starts rubbing it in her face. The pair feel like a symbol of power; is their relationship built off love? Or, is it the ability to hold power over another when the world is crumbling? “When the city’s under water / I will wine and dine you in the hollows,” she sings later on.

Zauner shared the song’s inspiration in a statement: “‘Savage Good Boy’ came from a headline I read about billionaires buying bunkers. I was interested in examining that specific type of villainy, and I found myself adopting the perspective of a rich man coaxing a young woman to come live with him underground, attempting to rationalize his almost impossible share of greed and miserliness.”

She continued about the video she directed, “I knew I wanted the music video to be a pretty literal interpretation of that idea. I wanted to juxtapose images of this post-apocalyptic, industrial bunker with the lightness and extravagance of rococo fashion and set design. Aiming for that balance, my cinematographer, Adam Kolodny, and I were really inspired by Chan Wook Park’s The Handmaiden, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, and Sally Potter’s Orlando.”

“Savage Good Boy” the new song by Japanese Breakfast from the album ‘Jubilee’, out June 4th on Dead Oceans.

Ambition isn’t something that comes naturally in indie rock; the lingering idea that modesty is the coolest asset you could possess have persisted over the past 20 years, pulling many a band and songwriter back from the brink of fully shooting for the stars. In the future, ‘Jubilee’ may just be seen as a pivotal way station on the road to these ideas being rubbished once and for all.

New 2022 UK tour dates.

25 March – Bristol – SXW
26 March – Manchester – Academy 2
27 March – Glasgow – St. Luke’s
28 March – Leeds – Brudenell Community Room
30 March – London – Kentish Town Forum

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