Japanese Breakfast, ‘Nobody Sees Me Like You Do’

Filling out the dreamy cloud of Yoko, Japanese Breakfast releases a cover version of Ocean Child...
Image by NPR

Japanese Breakfast released a cover of Yoko Ono’s “Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono,” compiled by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. It appeared on Ono’s high-charting solo album Season of Glass in 1981 and then was reworked by The Apples in Stereo for its 2007 remix album Yes, I’m A Witch.

Here, Michelle Zauner processes grief in a dreamlike vacuum. Japanese Breakfast is dominated by the piano throughout, opting for a stripped-down ballad that’s unlike any of the previous versions. Gone are the wedding bells, the steady pulse of a drum, melancholy strings, and show-stealing horns. In contrast to Ono’s fragile voice, Zauner’s is assured, almost aggressive, and in its examination of commitment, there are echoes of “Till Death” from her album Soft Sounds from Another Planet.

The simplicity of her performance highlights Ono’s labyrinthine songwriting and grounds “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” in a mournful origin.

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