Japanese Breakfast Brings Jubilee and Joy To Head In the Clouds
LOS ANGELES, CA-
“… Despite the pandemic, a lot of artists were able to thrive… but Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, a Korean-American, dominated was able to dominate through it. Her band released their third studio album, Jubiliee, earlier this year, earning rave reviews that culminated in a Best Alternative Music Album Grammy nomination. On top of that, as Japanese Breakfast, she wrote the soundtrack for the video game “Sable”. Apart from Japanese Breakfast, she collaborated with Ryan Galloway of the band Crying to form Bumper and released an EP titled pop songs 2020. Apart from music, Michelle published her first book Crying In H Mart which debuted at number two on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, a book that has been optioned by Orion Picture and will be getting a feature film adaptation. Talk about a killer year.
It was also a killer performance and as the last act of the day on the Double Happiness stage, a huge crowd gathered to watch Japanese Breakfast perform their 40-minute set which was equally split between Julbiliee songs (“Paprika”, “Be Sweet”, “Savage Good Boy”, “Posing In Bondage” & “Slide Tackle”) and her fan favorites (“Road Head”, “Everybody Wants To Love You” and “Diving Woman”), even throwing in a song from the Sable soundtrack, “Glider”.
But the highlight of the performance for me was a song that wasn’t their own and a song that I had seen them perform before. They covered The Cranberries “Dreams” but this time around Michelle prefaced the performance by explaining why she loved the song so much. Something she didn’t do the last time I saw her perform the song in Las Vegas at Intersect Festival a few years ago.
“When I think of this song,” Michelle explained, “I think of Faye Wong In Chungking Express, and that’s being exemplary of what Asian joy is.”
That explanation reframed the whole performance for me. It reminded me of Michelle’s explanation of why Jubilee was created in the first place (to contrast the mood of the prior Japanese Breakfast albums and to have the focus be joy). It gave more meaning to every smile she gleaned on stage or every playful bang on the large cymbal that was placed near centerstage. Michelle embodied that joy and gave another reason for everybody in the crowd to be joyful …”