Mirah – C'mon Miracle
Acquired: End of an Ear, Austin, TX, New, 2008
Believe it or not, there was a time when Pitchfork was useful and didn't spend all their time making sure the feather stayed firmly in their hat. That was the year I started reading and like all things I get involved with, I tend to show up during the last good year, have a really excellent experience, and then try to prevent the inevitable decline. I've thought that maybe I'm just bad luck, but I think some things just happen. Like KJHK, where I spent three and a half years trying to make it as cool and legit as it was when I started there and being a DJ was a privilege and no one would dare pull some of the absolutely stupid shit Djs pull these days (cursing on the air, cutting a song off halfway through and expounding for three minutes on why the song sucked (I swear, all of this stuff has happened and I have either had to clean up the mess or watch from the sidelines in shame)). I lived in Hashinger Hall the last year it was actually one of the cheapest dorms on campus and people from other dorms went “eww” when the were inside of it. They shut it down for a year and re-opened it as one of the most expensive dorms on campus for the rich kids. And yeah, Pitchfork. After 2004 it became a tastemaker's odyssey. Every record on their best of 2004 list was not only excellent but prescient. They had foresight and put their money on some dark horses. Now it's all about stature. WWP4KD? It's more about image than actual music criticism. More about a number than an actual review. However, I will say that that list also began the trend of throwing in mainstream hip-hop records to seem less like a bunch of rich, white hipsters (it has and always will play out like affirmative action for hip-hop).
Anyway, 2004 was the year of the Arcade Fire and it was the year Animal Collective made their first big step into Pitchfork's pocket (and let's face it, Merriweather Post Pavilion has pretty much already been announced as album of the year, replete with a line like “the year's best album came only two weeks into 2009,” etc, blah blah blah). ANYWAY, that's a rant about P4K and how it's gone downhill, but that's how I discovered Mirah. C'mon Miracle placed #35. In 2009 it pry wouldn't even get an honorable mention, edged out for the new Kanye West record, no matter what rating they gave it. Anyway, I digress. This is another amazing record. Phil Elverum produces yet again and warms everything up like an analog electric blanket. Like those little packets of whatever you rub in your hands during cold football games. Like Advisory Committee, it's another excellent break-up record and one that came in handy in 2008. I distinctly remember listening to this record a LOT. There's one fond memory of standing outside the union with the wind blowing fiercely and listening to “The Struggle” very closely and applying it to my life at the moment and wanting to cover it. It's one of the finest break-up songs I've ever heard. One of the finest songs period. And yes, it's dark, and yes Phil Elverum's drums are insanely good, muffled and moody, but the words and the way Mirah sings them just kill. It's ultimately one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. It all just feels so stripped bare and raw, you know? The whole record feels like that. “Nobody Has to Stay,” “Don't Die in Me,” and “We're Both so Sorry” also make me feel like curling up in a ball, or were listened to while curling up into a ball. All the writing here is incredible though. “I need the steady of you and I'd give you anything/ That I could cut with sweet precision from beneath my tender skin.” That one from “Promise to Me” just came on as I was typing that line about great lines. I've never payed attention to that song because I'm pretty emotionally done after “The Struggle,” but now I know I need to pay attention to the end of this record because it's damn fine. Anyway, Mirah rules. Nuff said.