hello! this week we’re continuing to look at Japanese Breakfast’s discography with 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet. let’s dig in!

Diving Woman is a very cool opener – this record gets to a lot of different sounds, taking a huge journey from Psychopomp, and its really cool to showcase a lot of different sounds here on the opening track. plus, its a very neat lyrical start, highlighting where the thoughts of the album originated from being on the road and with that anxiety of working ethic. Road Head skews a lot closer to the sounds im used to from Psychopomp with some little extra flairs thrown in, which makes sense when i learned it was a reworked demo from earlier, pre-yep lo fi release. really cool track. Machinist plays with some autotuning and some more electronic sounds. its an extremely lush track, and i really dig it. Planetary Ambience is nice. Soft Sounds From Another Planet, our title track, is a neat little reflection. Boyish is another song about a failing relationship, but for different reasons. this one’s got some neat instrumental sections to it, and the vocal work is extremely cool. 12 Steps brings a bit of a rockier vibe, about leaving one relationship for another – really like this one, and i laughed a little at the reference to Scenes From An Italian Restaurant at the end, given the subject matter. Jimmy Fallon Big! is a very bittersweet track, though history has made the origins of this song very funny. Your Body Is a Blade is a neat track, if very sad. i find the metaphor extremely compelling and descriptive, of describing the way disassociation can cause you to feel disconnected from your physical presence, to where it feels like a tool or a weapon thats not a full part of “you”. very interesting track. Till Death is neat in that it provides closure on two other tracks in its first verse – the “cruel men winning” from the title track and the reassurance from Boyish. its an incredibly tender track. This House is a reflective moment on her relationship with her father, and contextually its interesting because it feels like she has the space to reflect on it because her marriage is strong enough to allow her to pivot and get perspective on other areas of her life. Here Come the Tubular Bells is a nice, almost ceremonial closer.

faves – Road Head, Machinist, 12 Steps
dislikes –

yeah this was a really good album. thematically it was a little looser than Psychopomp – no straight narrative throughline, but still a strong reflection on the past, and processing pain and looking to the future. its funny to me that several of the tracks are reworkings of older material, that Zauner is able to revisit and in several cases recontextualize them. Zauner’s voice throughout is powerful and moving, an excellent pair to the lyrics, and there’s some extremely cool instrumental explorations from the previous album.

overall, a really good time.

Soft Sounds From Another Planet – 8/10

next up is actually our final record for this discography, 2021’s Jubilee. see y’all next week!

previous is the beginning: Psychopomp | next: Jubilee

all my reviews for Japanese Breakfast