Touring their latest, third album Jubilee, Japanese Breakfast accompanied by Luna Li, kicked off a stretch of six sold out shows on Oct. 10, 2021 at Delmar Hall in St. Louis, MO.
Deviating from their first two albums (Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet), lead singer Michelle Zauner examines grief through a different kind of lens. One of catchy pop songs like “Be Sweet” and “Savage Good Boy” that make you jump up and down and remind us all that to be alive is truly a jubilee!
Jubilee was released in June of 2021, shortly after the release of Zauner’s memoir Crying in H Mart on April 20. The New York Times nonfiction bestseller is an expansion of the New Yorker essay by Zauner about her mother’s battle with cancer and the grief she felt losing her mom.
After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy
Music vs Memoirs
I was first introduced to Japanese Breakfast through Crying in H Mart, and I was immediately interested in hearing Zauner’s music as Japanese Breakfast. I enjoyed the impressive guitar riffs, poetic lyrics, and her delicate yet powerful voice. It was easy to notice that much of what Zauner describes in her book is also reflected in her music.
Music memoirs, however, are not a new concept. Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Mary Lambert, Tegan & Sara, and other successful artists have turned to personal narrative writing, looking to connect with audiences in a different way.
It’s interesting to see Zauner utilize this industry to generate success for their band, rather than the other way around. Expanding on the success of music memoirs, Zauner manages to merge literary and music worlds together by connecting her music to her writing and vise-versa. Even by selling signed copies of her memoir at the merch table, she is demonstrating that different artistic mediums can exist and thrive together.
It’s A Jubilee!
Quickly switching between piano, guitars, a gong, and singing to the sold out St. Louis crowd, Japanese Breakfast played a variety of their music as well as a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again.”
The band also performed the single “Glider” from their recently released soundtrack for the videogame Sable, which features a song Zauner says is her favorite song that she’s ever written and the first string arrangement devised solely on her own.
During a pause between songs, someone in the crowd shouted a compliment to the band: “Lookin’ snazzy!” Zauner replied, “Thank you for complimenting our dress. We were feeling particularly self conscious about it tonight. I feel like we all look like we’re from different musicals.”
She went on to describe everyone’s outfits, which were each completely unique aesthetics. Zauner wore a white, lace dress designed by Simone Rocha. She pointed to her bandmates, saying one bandmate is from a country western, and another looks like they’re from a wedding with a Hawaiian flair.
Zauner was also accompanied on stage by husband and bandmate Peter Bradley on the keyboard and guitar. Their early relationship is described in Crying in H Mart, in which she recountstheir blissful and bittersweet wedding in the fall of 2014, two weeks before her mother’s death.
When the world divides into two people: Those who have felt pain and those who have yet to.
Lyrics from “Posing in Bondage” by Japanese Breakfast
More from Michelle Zauner & Japanese Breakfast
After releasing a debut memoir, their third studio album with self-directed music videos, a full-length instrumental soundtrack, and performing a US, EU and UK tour, Michelle Zauner is showing the world just how much she’s capable of as an artist, performer and writer.
It was also announced that Zauner will adapt her memoir for film and provide the soundtrack as Japanese Breakfast. The film rights to Crying in H Mart were picked up by MGM label Orion Pictures, with Stacey Sher and Jason Kim on board to produce.
There are still tickets available for some of the remaining shows on the Jubilee tour. Whether it’s through song and dance or pen and paper, you’ll definitely be seeing more from this rising star.