How ‘The Sopranos’ inspired Japanese Breakfast


For ten years now, Michelle Zauner has been treating music fans to the wonders of her Japanese Breakfast project. It first arose while she was still playing in the Philadelphia emo band Little Big League, but quickly became her main form of artistic expression, delivering a wide-ranging catalogue of high quality.

Zauner’s debut album under the Japanese Breakfast name arrived in 2016. Psychopomp was inspired by the stress and trauma that arose from Zauner looking after her mother during her last moments on Earth. Shortly after Psychopomp was released, Japanese Breakfast followed up with Soft Sounds from Another Planet and further cemented their success with the third album, 2021’s Jubilee.

It was on that most recent full-length release that one of Zauner’s best songs arrived, the single ‘Savage Good Boy’. The music video for the track features The Sopranos’ star Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti, and its narrative is a continuation of the previous Jubilee release, ‘Posing in Bondage’.

Zauner directed the music video herself, and casting Imperioli is something of a stroke of genius, especially considering the fact that The Sopranos had inspired the artist throughout the making of Jubilee. “I was interested in exploring this perspective of a billionaire who has rationalised this hoarding of wealth on such a high level,” Zauner once said in a Q&A session.

She continued: “Shows like The Sopranos have inspired me so much because I think what makes villainy really menacing is you can see parts of yourself in a villain. They’re human; they’re parts of being human that are exacerbated to lean towards a certain way.”

The first inspiration for ‘Savage Good Boy’ actually came from a news headline Zauner read about “billionaires buying bunkers”.

She noted in a press statement: “I was interested in examining that specific type of villainy, and I found myself adopting the perspective of a rich man coaxing a young woman to come to live with him underground, attempting to rationalise his almost impossible share of greed and miserliness.”

Imperioli has spoken about performing in the music video, noting: “There’s more freedom, and you try to embody the spirit of the song and the music. That’s fun! As an actor, it’s a very different approach to what you’re usually doing.” So perhaps it was fun for the actor to embody his most famous character once again.

Check out the music video for Japanese Breakfast’s ‘Savage Good Boy’ starring The Soprano’s Michael Imperioli below.

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