Japanese Breakfast is a prolific indie pop project led by Korean-American singer from Philadelphia, Michelle Zauner. Zauner is also known for her previous band Little Big League, which was disbanded in 2016. Japanese Breakfast’s sound is a unique blend of melancholic melodies and dainty instrumentals, with lyrics primarily based on Zauner’s own life experiences.
Zauner released her debut record in 2016 called Psychopomp, in which she confronts the death of her mother and other social struggles with a stormy energy that will make everyone wallow in their feelings. The album features tragically beautiful tracks like “In Heaven,” in which Zauner sings about the journey of processing her grief.
In 2017, she released another album called Soft Sounds from Another Planet, which aims to portray life on earth using themes and sounds that are inspired from outer space and artificial intelligence. “Boyish” is the album’s standout track; the dreamlike style Zauner’s breathy vocals, and muted guitar convey the song’s profound message of self-acceptance.
In March 2021, Zauner announced the release of her memoir called “Crying in H Mart,” a book that captures the essence of losing a parent and trying to get through it. She also announced her upcoming album Jubilee, a record to be significantly different from her previous works. She then released the album’s first single, “Be Sweet,” along with her self-directed music video for it.
Jubilee, Zauner’s ambitious third record, was released in June 2021. This album is particularly notable because (as Zauner has stated) it moves away from songs about grief, instead standing as a celebration of joy. The album is full of iconic pop beats, such as “Savage Good Boy”, as well as some tracks that hint back to their earlier sound, such as “Tactics.”
This new era has definitely seen a lot of success, as her book was a New York Times Best-Seller and the album peaked at 56 in the Billboard Top 200, but Zauner didn’t stop there. She also wrote the entire soundtrack for a new video game called SABLE, which gives listeners a glimpse of her narrative-based songwriting and new exploration in ambient pop. In other news, a film adaptation of her book is also in the works, as well.
Japanese Breakfast has embarked on a North American headlining tour, which started in Maryland, and Zauner will then take off for her European tour at the beginning of 2022. She will make her stop in Houston with opening act SASAMI on October 30th at White Oak Music Hall. Make sure to get your tickets because this is a live experience you do not want to miss.