Jubilee captures the essence of delightful Chamber Pop and heartfelt Indie Pop and makes it graceful. Zauner is a master at bringing emotions to life or making them speak when they seem deeply buried, volatile in contrast.
Sometimes the choices we make explain a lot. Take for example the one I made today, which is to write about Japanese Breakfast, when Wolf Alice is releasing a new and highly anticipated album. Not because Jubilee is inherently better, because I don't know yet, but I'm talking about the passion that sometimes guides our choices. While I like to focus on one release from now on, I must admit that my reflection was long and painful, but nevertheless I came to this conclusion: There are some things that fascinate me about Michelle Zauner like a magnet attracted by the force of attraction. Yet I discovered it only a few months ago, when Be Sweat appeared as a song that defies the obvious. To tell the truth, I liked Be Sweat but nothing more, but as the weeks went by, it was like finding the essential. It was necessary to delve into the past of Michelle Zauner, a South Korean native who grew up in Oregon and now resides in Philadelphia. Building from the ground up, from her college band Post Post, to Little Big League before becoming Japanese Breakfast in 2013, Zauner has evolved her punk to a pop that's as slimy as it is refined, making her a compelling songwriter.
This rise to prominence is also a sign of a massive evolution, which is evident again on Jubilee. Emerging from the loss of her mother a few years ago, Zauner has gradually hardened into an accomplished artist. Unlike her previous albums, Jubilee twists her indie formula and stretches it into something more grandiose with the orchestration and arrangements that lead her down the path of Chamber Pop. Like her imagination, Jubilee is not restricted by this new direction, it wants to be free and versatile all the emotions that burn in its author. The charm of Jubilee is felt precisely in the disparity of the emotions that clash like something unpredictable. A godsend, I should say, since when passion drives us, everything becomes more amplified. Jubilee is not only an introspective work, it is even more than that, like a kind of diary where each page delivers its own experience, as well as those of many fictional characters
Inspired directly by the animated film of the same name, Paprika is an intelligent introduction since it uses the theme of dreams and reality to start the adventure. First of all musically, thanks to a triumphant wind and brass orchestration that approaches this epic and intriguing aesthetic. We understand above all that Jubilee is the fruit of an addiction of different stories, as we find within the film Paprika, but which finally articulates around a common core. This entry directly sets this ability that Japanese Breakfast has for writing. Against the current, Be Sweet is a time capsule that plunges you into the heart of a retro New Wave. On the surface, this love song has nothing secret, we find an infectious groove and this frenetic clairvoyance that this trend back in fashion gives off naturally. The only difference is the fantastic talent that Zauner exudes that has what it takes to totally conquer you. I think this alchemy is a fusion of well dosed ingredients, catchy melodies, sincere writing and that emotional interpretation that can't leave you indifferent. Be Sweet could have been a sterile song that you find a lot when a trend is omnipresent, but sometimes there are things that can't be explained between the proper and the sensational.
Kokomo is a song that explains a lot of things, especially about the evolution of its author as well as about Jubilee in general. Through a teenage romance and a voluntary wink to the Beach Boys, Kokomo is a splendid ballad, so tender and angelic that we let ourselves rock without concession. One observes globally the Dream Pop and Indie Pop styles which make its identity since a few years now, but the addition of the orchestration and this maturity stand out as a crucial step. On the other hand, Kokomo can seem quite simple and naive, but as often on Jubilee, Zauner takes advantage of this formula to make it go into another dimension. Slide Tackle remains one of the gems, a nu-disco/synthpop treasure that is as biting as it is bewitching, thanks to the help of a warm saxophone and a funky bass. At its core, Slide Tackle also supports the fact that Jubilee oozes with songs that put you in a comfortable place without giving you the chance to get bored easily. It's a bit like being pampered all the time so that you can enjoy the adventure to the fullest. One more reason that explains the beauty of this album and the fact that it is difficult to criticize.
Approaching a hypnotic atmosphere on a synthetic orchestration, Posing In Bondage opposes the malaise and the hope through an icy atmosphere. The strength of the beauty of this song lies in the fact that the darkness, symbolizing loneliness, still sees a ray of light. It is very different from the bright colors that we find on Jubilee. Sit is a logical continuation of the previous song, it prolongs the adventure by incorporating volatile Indie Rock guitars that prevent the tension from going down. It's a kind of gravity trip that ends with the more down to earth storytelling Savage Good Boy. Co-produced with (Sandy) Alex G on a typically Indie and endearing repertoire that never leaves me unmoved, despite the fact that this formula has nothing original. Ultra melancholic, In Hell deceives the world by its colored instrumentation. Behind this one hides in reality a moving song. Like In Hell, the short format of the songs that Jubilee proposes globally is quite impressive since it allows the listener to want to come back, while avoiding the weak moments. Until the end of the 37 minutes, Japense Breakfast follows ballads as beautiful as the world, like Tactics for example, which will eventually bring tears to your eyes.
To finish in apotheosis, Zauner surprises the listener with an ambitious conclusion of more than 6 minutes which totally denotes in the typical construction of a Jubilee song. Posing For Cars builds on the spirit of a 90's indie song, using acoustics and that kind of extended solo over several minutes as a kind of crescendo leading up to the final explosion. It's a nice response and a clever counterpoint to Japanese Breakfast, which used the dreaded and concise melodic and orchestral to rock Jubilee. She finally brought it to the end with an absolutely emotional performance by that raging but empathetic guitar. As I said a few sentences later, Jubilee enjoys an efficiency that is hard to question. Sometimes it's by keeping it simple that you can create great things, that's the lesson we can learn from here. That is to say in a few words that although we are not astonished musically by its originality, the whole is embellished by several factors, that it is the writing, the orchestration, the interpretation, or even a small detail. If all this can seem trivial, this nuance, as hard to master as it is to understand at first sight, allows a project to shine as it should when most of the other similar ones don't have this extra sparkle.