Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Japanese Breakfast - Soft Sounds From Another Planet
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2017 Ratings: #160 / 838
Year End Rank: #41
User Score
Based on 430 ratings
2017 Ratings: #132
Liked by 4 people
July 14, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Dead Oceans / Label
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A.V. Club

Overall, Zauner sounds like she’s in a better place than on Psychopomp, despite the occasional shadowy fear lurking beneath its shiny surface. And while everything on Japanese Breakfast’s proper sophomore effort isn’t entirely fresh, and its structure is somewhat loose, there’s a confidence and crispness to Soft Sounds that shows just how fully realized Zauner’s formerly homemade experiments have become.

God Is in the TV

The brilliance Zauner hinted at on Psychopomp has been fully realized on Soft Sounds. This revealing and heartwarming record finds Zauner mastering her craft through the therapeutic experience of making music.

The 405

Soft Sounds From Another Planet initially sounds far more celestially concerned, fixated on Important Questions of cosmic purpose, but these are ideas sown and fixed in Psychopomp’s introspection. Over repeated listens, the former evolves into a touching meditation on love’s complexity and erraticism, where introspection intercedes the Big Important Questions.

Consequence of Sound

Soft Sounds… isn’t quite as playfully subversive as Zauner’s big-rig guitar solo on “Everybody Wants to Love You”, but her work as Japanese Breakfast continues to draw its energy from transgressing both the expectations of herself and her audience.

Pretty Much Amazing

Zauner’s sophomore LP not only showcases her skill in experimentation (using harpsichord and Auto-Tune), but her myriad influences, at times recalling the best of Spiritualized’s magnificent Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

It’s a somber, starry lullaby that results in periods of fitful sleep marked by struggles with fading love and death’s vague mystery.
Northern Transmissions

With some absolutely surprising moments and a mature feeling to the record, Soft Sounds from Another Planet is Zauner finding a whole new voice for herself.

The Skinny

The strained clarity of Zauner’s voice is what makes this album so beautiful, particularly during the contemplative balladry of This House. Moving and inspired, Soft Sounds From Another Planet is yet another lesson in guitar pop perfection.


Soft Sounds from Another Planet is a giant leap forward for Japanese Breakfast; the move to a bigger sound results in a sure-handed modern pop record full of memorable songs, heart-wrenching vocals, and bottomless emotional depth.

Under The Radar

Soft Sounds is ambitious not only because it throws so much in, but because it aims to push a coherent whole out the other end. It's experimental pop that wants to experiment while still sounding like pop, and it really works.

The Line of Best Fit

With Soft Sound From Another Planet, Michelle Zauner has moved beyond mourning to a solace far more celestial, communicating her grief through these poignant musical prayers aimed directly at the heavens and beyond.

The Guardian
Although it’s mostly dreamlike and existential, the album soars with its shimmering pop songs.
Drowned in Sound
This album is anything but a fad. It hangs around long after you listen, subdued but resolute in its capabilities. It is very much here to stay.

While Psychopomp focused on the most intimate human experiences, her new album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, uses big guitars and melancholic arrangements to address life on Earth, but it calls upon the cosmos for its perspective.


Michelle Zauner conjures the macro in the micro. Her richly observed songs convey intimate details and observations that conjure the immensity of concepts like love, sex, and desire.

No Ripcord

She’s retained the dreamy ambiance of that album and translated it with sweet, shimmering soundscapes on her latest, Soft Sounds from Another Planet.

Crack Magazine

In its 12 tracks, Soft Sounds From Another Planet is a reflection of grief, which depicts its enduring nature and many manifestations. The album harks to not just a personal past, but also towards a future that encompasses all the fear and excitement of discovering a new planet.

Zauner could have carved herself a pretty good career knocking out albums of lo-fi pop. Instead, she reveals a heretofore-unheard level of ambition as she expands her pop palette and worldview.
Loud and Quiet

Zauner puts down her guitar several times throughout the album and embraces the life of a replicant. At other times, it unfortunately feels even more like a copy of a copy.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Ultimately, Soft Sounds is an uneven experience, stylistically and in terms of (this listener’s) engagement. But still, in the shimmering hooky synthpop of “Machinist,” the Morrissey-esque lilt of “Boyish,” there are bright stars hanging in the firmament.


There are plenty of loveable moments, sure, but they tend to congeal like sand passing through your fingers.

Great stuff
I'm scared of my own thoughts so I drown it out with female Indie Rock, this one works well
Amazing album title though not 100% fit
this house made me cry on first listen and I still haven't stopped
Space rock! Shoegaze! Synth pop! Intimate indie rock!

It's all here, with magnificent production and some of the best lyrics I've heard this year. The approach on Soft Sounds actually reminds me of Grandaddy or even Spiritualized at points. Big things ahead for Japanese Breakfast.

Favorite tracks: Boyish, Machinist, Road Head, Diving Woman, 12 Steps, Till Death
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Track List

  1. Diving Woman
  2. Road Head
  3. Machinist
  4. Planetary Ambience
  5. Soft Sounds from Another Planet
  6. Boyish
  7. 12 Steps
  8. Jimmy Fallon Big!
  9. The Body Is a Blade
  10. Till Death
  11. This House
  12. Here Come the Tubular Bells
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Added on: May 4, 2017