“After writing two albums and a book about grief, I feel very ready to embrace feeling” is what Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner told Pitchfork earlier this year when describing the Jubilee album released in June. And feeling she does on the first few songs that are a masterclass of alterna pop. “Paprika” uses a marching band drum, horns and a wonderous chorus where she exclaims “oh, it’s a rush!” “Be Sweet”, the first single, is another upbeat gem that asks “be sweet to me, baby”. “Kokomo, IN” is a misty eyed indie pop song along the lines of Camera Obscura that adds strings to provide a sense of longing with a tinge of country.
Those first three songs are near perfect so it’s hard for the rest of the album to match those heights but a few songs come close. “Sit” uses tension in the verses whereas “Savage Good Boy” uses humour to speak of the villians in the world who make far too much money. Not only has Michelle Zauner recently released this album, but the Korean-American also published her first memoir in April that is already a New York Times bestseller. An incredible body of work in just the first half of the year.