Miracles

Writers - Tennant/Lowe
First released - 2003
Original album - PopArt
Producer - Adam F, Dan "Fresh" Stein
Subsequent albums - Ultimate, Release 2017 reissue Further Listening 2001-2004 bonus disc
Other releases - single (UK #10, US Dance #1)

With this song, Neil and Chris—along with their collaborators, "drum and bass" producers Adam F (Adam Fenton) and Dan Fresh (Dan Stein, aka "DJ Fresh")—have written one of the most outrageous variations on the so-called "pathetic fallacy" in the body of popular music. ("Pathetic fallacy" is a literary term that refers to the attribution of human feelings and/or motivations to non-humans, especially the non-living attributes of nature: a happy sun, an angry sea.) The narrator describes how "clouds drift away when they see you," "rain wouldn't dare to fall near you," and other such "miracles" occur in the presence of the one he loves. Of course, such miraculous events don't really happen in his presence; they only seem to in the eyes of the besotted lover. It's virtually a definition of "limerence": the sense of tremendous exhilaration that one feels in the early stages of love. The external world doesn't actually change at all, but rather the narrator's internal perception of the world now that he shares it with his beloved. Such is the transformative power of love: as Neil sings, "It's a new day."

(Incidentally, there's been a rumor that the inspiration for this song was the suicide death of the lover of one of Neil's friends. Neil, however, has specifically denied this.)

"Miracles" is one of the loveliest songs in the PSB corpus, though Neil and Chris have credited Adam F with the lion's share of the music. It opens slowly, gently, with gorgeous orchestration—courtesy former Art of Noise maven Anne Dudley—and then picks up with a steady synth undercurrent. (To be honest, it bears a strong structural resemblance to Madonna's "Frozen." Neil has pointedly denied any direct influence, but I would add that being influenced by something often has little to do with one's conscious thoughts or intentions.) The melody is every bit as pretty as you'd expect from such an intense love song, although its wealth of minor chords gives it a pervasive air of melancholy, as if the narrator were aware, at least subconsciously, of the illusory nature of his current view of the world. It's this tension—the implicit tug-of-war between limerence and reality—that gives this song much of its power.

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