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splendid > reviews > 4/5/2004
Mirah
Mirah
C'mon Miracle
K


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Nobody Has to Stay"

Buy me now
Mirah's main competition is Norah Jones. Each artist's music is soft ("You'll hear my silence as a strum"), yet demands attention. It's classy, but also honest. Not a single emotion seems overplayed or exaggerated; you'll dance and sway to it because each song feels as organic as life, and the life it documents is nicely lit.

Like the beauty of Norah Jones' first record, C'mon Miracle strikes you first as a soft breeze. The music, a hybrid of folk and traditional elements, bears the beauty of humanity; it is complex, often subtle, and strikingly varied. If you play it in the background, it might seem as basic as the Softies, where even Yiddish spoken word goes unheard. As is the fate with many Softies songs, the music is so immediately pretty that it almost prevents a close, intimate listen. However, after you give yourself to it, you'll lose yourself in it.

The melodies that dress Mirah's pop relationships ("I'll go right on pretending / I got nothing to regret / Except all the times we wasted / Giving only second best") have as many colors within them as a Missoni sweater. Her music is ultimately as complex as the Microphones' drummed evocations of night and sky.

The lyrics are an impressive, delicate match. Expressions of love ("We have been blessed with certain thoughts / And speak with very little talk") are genuine, but slight -- the sort of touching moments most people fail to form into anecdote -- and Mirah's rebellious spirit is tempered by wisdom ("Not to know what you want / Is a terrible thing you should fight") and a sweet belief that life is beautiful. Her strong voice and poppy exotica brighten the lyrical tone ("If I think all the magic is gone / And I can't fix it"), but only a little.

The autoharp, drums and stringed instruments help Mirah's vocals to keep a clinical distance from the emotions that inspired them. It's hard to underestimate this accomplishment; it's a feat in itself for a songwriter to be as reasoned as a psychiatrist, let alone for an autoharp to make that connection. C'Mon Miracle is a blueprint for records about relationship politics and global politics ("Jerusalem") alike, designed for a bright, sober, thoughtful audience that can tell its Kierkegaard from its Jung.



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