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Japanese Breakfast|Jubilee

Jubilee

Japanese Breakfast

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A complete triumph, the third album from Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, is simply beautiful. While her first two LPs explored the anguish of her mother's cancer diagnosis and treatment (Psychopomp) and subsequent death (Soft Sounds from Another Planet), Jubilee starts Zauner's own recovery process—and pursuit of happiness. Opener "Paprika" is an instant mood lift, all rolling drums and lazily swaying horns, that finds Zauner refusing to take good fortune for granted: "How's it feel … projecting your visions to strangers who feel it, who listen, who linger on every word? How? It's a rush!" (One of her greatest storytelling talents is not leaning on trite rhymes.) "Kokomo, IN" is like a tropical breeze with an undercurrent of gently heart-tugging strings. All that joyful noise, however, doesn't mean faking it until she makes it. Zauner lets herself luxuriate in lyrically dark corners even as the music—at times reminiscent of the Cardigans, Björk, Kate Bush—shines bright. "Tactics" is so lovely and romantic sounding it could almost be from a Disney movie, but she's singing about pulling away from a toxic relationship with her father. The horns of "Posing in Bondage" blow in like smoke; even when the Robyn-like dance beat kicks in, you never forget it's a ballad about being lonely in a relationship. And then there is the absolutely devastating "In Hell." Zauner has described it as being "about putting my dog down and thinking, 'Why couldn't we just have this option when my mom was dying?'" The keyboard is jaunty, the horns are sunny, and Zauner sings "With my luck you'll be dead within the year/ I've come to expect it … Hell is finding someone to love and I can't have you." Earlier this year, Zauner published her bestselling memoir Crying in H Mart, an expansion of the shockingly beautiful and moving New Yorker essay of the same name in which she used the Korean American supermarket chain as an outlet for grieving her mother's death. Both in the pages and in these songs, she is fighting her way back to joy. You can hear it in the second-chance promise of "Be Sweet" and its disco dancefloor pulse, as Zauner croons, "So come and get your woman/ Pacify her rage." And even when the world goes dark, she's reclaiming her sense of humor. "Savage Good Boy" is a deliciously sly commentary on billionaires buying apocalyptic bunkers: "And when the city's underwater/ I will wine and dine you in the hollows/ On a surplus of freeze dried food." Survival, it turns out, is a funny thing. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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Jubilee

Japanese Breakfast

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1
Paprika
00:03:40

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

2
Be Sweet
00:03:15

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

3
Kokomo, IN
00:03:38

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

4
Slide Tackle
00:03:39

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

5
Posing In Bondage
00:04:04

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

6
Sit
00:03:07

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

7
Savage Good Boy
00:02:26

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

8
In Hell
00:02:38

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

9
Tactics
00:03:53

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

10
Posing For Cars
00:06:38

Japanese Breakfast, MainArtist - Michelle Zauner, Composer, Lyricist

2021 Dead Oceans 2021 Dead Oceans

Album Description

A complete triumph, the third album from Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, is simply beautiful. While her first two LPs explored the anguish of her mother's cancer diagnosis and treatment (Psychopomp) and subsequent death (Soft Sounds from Another Planet), Jubilee starts Zauner's own recovery process—and pursuit of happiness. Opener "Paprika" is an instant mood lift, all rolling drums and lazily swaying horns, that finds Zauner refusing to take good fortune for granted: "How's it feel … projecting your visions to strangers who feel it, who listen, who linger on every word? How? It's a rush!" (One of her greatest storytelling talents is not leaning on trite rhymes.) "Kokomo, IN" is like a tropical breeze with an undercurrent of gently heart-tugging strings. All that joyful noise, however, doesn't mean faking it until she makes it. Zauner lets herself luxuriate in lyrically dark corners even as the music—at times reminiscent of the Cardigans, Björk, Kate Bush—shines bright. "Tactics" is so lovely and romantic sounding it could almost be from a Disney movie, but she's singing about pulling away from a toxic relationship with her father. The horns of "Posing in Bondage" blow in like smoke; even when the Robyn-like dance beat kicks in, you never forget it's a ballad about being lonely in a relationship. And then there is the absolutely devastating "In Hell." Zauner has described it as being "about putting my dog down and thinking, 'Why couldn't we just have this option when my mom was dying?'" The keyboard is jaunty, the horns are sunny, and Zauner sings "With my luck you'll be dead within the year/ I've come to expect it … Hell is finding someone to love and I can't have you." Earlier this year, Zauner published her bestselling memoir Crying in H Mart, an expansion of the shockingly beautiful and moving New Yorker essay of the same name in which she used the Korean American supermarket chain as an outlet for grieving her mother's death. Both in the pages and in these songs, she is fighting her way back to joy. You can hear it in the second-chance promise of "Be Sweet" and its disco dancefloor pulse, as Zauner croons, "So come and get your woman/ Pacify her rage." And even when the world goes dark, she's reclaiming her sense of humor. "Savage Good Boy" is a deliciously sly commentary on billionaires buying apocalyptic bunkers: "And when the city's underwater/ I will wine and dine you in the hollows/ On a surplus of freeze dried food." Survival, it turns out, is a funny thing. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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