Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, served as the musical guest on Monday night’s episode of Jimmy Fallon, where she performed her latest single, “Be Sweet”. Additionally, in a nod to her debut appearance on The Tonight Show, Zauner dusted off “Jimmy Fallon Big!”, from 2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet, as a web exclusive.
Zauner and her band filmed their mini-set at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. With the exception of a female patron at the bar and an extraterrestrial bartender, the venue was completely empty. As such, the only way to view both performances is by clicking the play button on the videos embedded below.
“Be Sweet” is the lead single from Zauner’s upcoming album, Jubilee, out June 4th via Dead Oceans. The record follows 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet. In a statement accompanying the album announcement, she explained the intention behind the project.
“After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy,” Zauner said. “For me, a third record should feel bombastic and so I wanted to pull out all the stops for this one.” That was certainly felt in her performance of “Be Sweet”, a glitzy, 80’s pop-inspired number that is just begging to be played at a packed club on a Friday night.
As for “Jimmy Fallon Big!”, Zauner shared the story of the song’s origins in an interview with NPR in 2017: “I wrote this song about the bass player of Little Big League. He’d been offered a better touring gig and so he sat me down at my kitchen table and told me he had to quit the band because this other band were going to be ‘Jimmy Fallon big.’ At the time it felt like losing a brother, and there was this shame, feeling like I was never going to get there myself. Funny enough, he now plays bass in Japanese Breakfast! Now we just need to play Jimmy Fallon and the cycle will be complete!” Mission accomplished.