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Spotlight on: C'mon Miracle by Mirah

Cover of C'mon Miracle by Mirah Mirah, C'mon Miracle

I thought it was about time that Mirah got back into the studio to do what she does best, and where she belongs. I mean, I loved Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project but the confines of a studio atmosphere really ironically allow for the fleshing out of her ideas better than their stripped down counterparts.

I think something happened to our Mirah during her trip up into the Black Mountains. Perhaps it was the influence of cabin partner Ginger Brooks Takahashi, but Mirah has returned with a new outlook on songwriting. The songs on her previous albums were serious enough musings on love, sex, and friendship, but she's moved on to--while not less personal, certainly heavier subjects. There is nothing on C'mon Miracle to match the epic heights of "Cold Cold Water" (evidently a one-shot deal), but these are songs on subjects that are obviously very meaningful to her. My only concern is that they may turn off her fan base, who look to her to sing what they're thinking and feeling about their own lives, and that these songs may be too personal to reach universality.

The very mellow "Nobody Has to Stay" introduces the mood that pervades the album, with "Jerusalem" (download)--an open letter to the Holy City--only upping the tempo slightly. Heavy production first crops up on "The Light" (one senses the hand of usual producer, and Microphone, Phil Elvrum). The grinding, popping, and blipping accompany Mirah's voice nicely, and an added bonus is a jangly guitar bridge that takes this sweet song to its end.

The first of two songs recorded while Mirah was in Argentina, country-folk strumming and some restrained brushwork (from Bryce Panic) are a part of "Don't Die in Me," a definite highlight of C'mon Miracle that starts out simply but slowly builds to a crescendo of power that continues in "Look Up!" which showcases Mirah's voice to great effect. Unfortunately, her voice is the only good thing in "We're Both So Sorry," yet another breakup song that is way too weird musically and, thus, way too long.

"The Dogs of B.A." (Buenos Aires, this is the other Argentinian recording), however, is a quick, poppy, bass-driven song that is infectious and the usual recipient of a press of the Repeat button. The spoken Spanish interlude near the end only adds to the charm, even though I have no idea what is being said. (That's probably best.)

There's no particular standout along the lines of "Words Cannot Describe" (from You Think It's Like This, But Really It's Like This), "Cold Cold Water" (from Advisory Committee), or "Oh! September" (one of the Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project), but despite the many musical styles evident (and the few duds present) on C'mon Miracle, it is Mirah's most cohesive recording yet. Even the lesser songs fit well in the whole scheme of the album and Mirah's songwriting just keeps getting more and more interesting. This reviewer, for one, expects that more great things are in store.

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