(By Ashley Flamenco)
“Soft Sounds from Another Planet” is, indie pop artist, Japanese Breakfast’s exquisitely dark, vulnerable and most recent album.
The album is opened with “Diving Woman,” a song referring to a tradition in Korea where women dive underwater to catch their food, as a way of metaphorically diving into the album.
This record has a 90s alternative pop-rock sound that’s very reminiscent of bands like Mazzy Star and The Cranberries. In addition, Michelle Zauner, the woman behind Japanese Breakfast, has a voice that sounds so much like the singer’s of Mazzy Star, adding to the similarities between the two’s music. Something else that I noticed are the wavy guitar chords she plays such as in “12 Steps” that remind me of guitar riffs on songs by, the grunge band, Hole. If you’re a 90s rock fan, this is for you.
Japanese Breakfast’s first album, “Psychopomp,” was written after Michelle’s mother passed away from cancer, documenting the trauma she experienced after her mother’s death including the vast amount of grief she dealt with. Making music has been a way for her to cope. “Soft Sounds from Another Planet” is a follow up of “Psychopomp,” taking us through her healing process but still addressing the topics of grief and death which are especially prominent in “Til Death,” a gloomy lullaby where she sings “Haunted dreams, stages of grief/ Repressed memories/ Anger and bargaining.”
The first three songs on the album are then followed by an interlude called “Planetary Ambiance” which sounds exactly like what you’d expect from the song based off the title which continues along with the spacey theme of the whole record that was interestingly, inspired by the Mars One Project.
After a few listens, I’ve grown to really love and appreciate this project. This is some of the most personal and intimate work I’ve listened to but it’s beautifully vulnerable in a way that has taught to me to appreciate life a little more.
My favorite songs:
Soft Sounds from Another Planet