Her star rising before the COVID pandemic, 2021 has already been a very good year for Michelle Zauner, a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast. Her book Crying in H Mart: A Memoir debuted at number two on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list, and has been optioned for a movie, with Zauner writing the adaption & making the soundtrack. Indeed, new album Jubilee could sit in that considerable shadow, but shines all on its own.
Japanese Breakfast’s 2017 Soft Sounds from Another Planet (QRO review) was exactly that, though not more, but Jubilee grows considerably. It is still soft and sweet, but really digs into that sound, from the shining synth-pop of opener “Paprika” to the sad strum-into-fuzz “Posing for Cars” closer. And there’s also killer disco-pop with “Be Sweet”, twangy sway on “Kokomo, IN”, even saxophone on “Slide Tackle”. And Zauner has a wry take on male privilege in “Savage Good Boy”.
Big tour already announced for the fall, Michelle Zauner is not slowing down this year, and the airy-yet-substantial Jubilee attests to that.