JAPANESE BREAKFAST

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JAPANESE BREAKFAST

Date/Time
Date(s) - November 12 2021
6:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Location
Madonna Inn

Ticket


6pm

All ages!

 

From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle
Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the
passage of time—a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor.
Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish;
Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds
From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother‘s death and used it as a
conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is
ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling
world.

How does she do it? With a joyful noise. From pulsing walls of synthgaze and piano on
“Sit,” to the nostalgia-laden strings that float through “Tactics,” Jubilee bursts with the
most wide-ranging arrangements of Zauner’s career. Each song unfurls a new aspect of
her artistry: “Be Sweet,” co-written with Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum, is a jagged,
propulsive piece of ‘80s pop that’s followed by a sweetly melancholic ballad in “Kokomo,
IN.” As she rides a crest of saxophones and synthesizers through “Slide Tackle,” a piece
of nimble pop-funk run through a New Order lens, Zauner professes her desire to move
forward: “I want to be good—I want to navigate this hate in my heart somewhere
better.”

In the years leading up to Jubilee, Zauner also took theory lessons and studied piano in
earnest for the first time, in an effort to improve her range as a songwriter: “I’ve never
wanted to rest on any laurels. I wanted to push it as far as it could go, inviting more
people in and pushing myself as a composer, a producer, an arranger.” She pours that
sentiment into the album from the very beginning, weaving a veritable tapestry of sound
on the opening track “Paprika.” To build such an anthem of self-actualization, Zauner
maxed out the technical limits of her recording rig, expelling her anxieties and egoism
with layers upon layers of triumphant horns and marching snares. “How’s it feel to be at
the center of magic? To linger in tones and words?” she ponders, conjuring the

widescreen majesty of Kate Bush. “I opened the floodgates and found no water, no
current, no river, no rush!”

Later, on the kooky, terrifyingly prophetic jam, “Savage Good Boy,” Zauner
reduces the excess of modern capitalism to an emotional level, sarcastically
imagining the perspective of a billionaire trying to convince his lover to join
him underground as the apocalypse unfolds. “I want to make the money until
there’s no more to be made/And we will be so wealthy, I’m absolved from
questioning/That all my bad behavior was just a necessary strain/They’re the
stakes in a race to win.”
“I don’t want to weave politics into my music in a way that feels cheap, but I couldn't
make something that doesn’t comment on the reality we live in,” says Zauner. “I think
that you need to push yourself to care, and that’s part of what this album is about: If you
want change, in anything, you need to go to war for it.”

At the end comes “Posing for Cars,” one of the longest, most visceral Japanese Breakfast
songs to date. In its muted opening, Zauner quietly re-embraces impassioned facets of
youth—wistful daydreaming, fierce loyalty—atop a bed of slowly-strummed guitars.
Those same feelings pour out of her fingertips as she erupts into a cathartic, nearly
three-minute-long solo to close out the record, with gradual swells of distortion that
evoke the arena-sized guitars of bands like Wilco or Sonic Youth.

Jubilee is an album about processing life and love in the quest for happiness, and how
that process sometimes requires us to step outside of ourselves. “Savage Good Boy” isn’t
the only time Zauner takes on a persona; On the cavernous masterpiece “Posing In
Bondage,” she imagines a woman left behind in the confines of an empty house,
traversing the blurred lines between domesticity and dominance as she sings to an
absent lover. Meanwhile, “Kokomo, IN” was written from the perspective of a small-
town Indiana boy, forced to say goodbye to a girlfriend who’s shipping off to study
abroad. But throughout Jubilee, Zauner is hardly fictionalizing her lyrics, instead
pouring her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those

universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution—these things take real
time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.

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