When I was a child, around the age of 10 or 11, I had heard a few Queen songs: We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, maybe Radio Gaga - but I was not familiar with their entire discography. By 1989, I was into Guns N' Roses, Michael Jackson, N.W.A., Ice-T, and The Cure.
When a friend of mine got his hands on the The Miracle cassette and wouldn't stop playing it, I got into it; when CDs became the go-to music medium the following year, my first purchases on the format were Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual, GN'R's Appetite For Destruction and GN'R Lies (I'd listened to the tapes so often I'd killed them), EMF's Schubert Dip, and The Miracle.
To this day, it remains the only Queen album I listen to at least once a year, and the only one I can listen to straight more than once. It's the perfect blend of the band's usual opera-meets-prog-meets-pop and the best of what the late 1990s' hair metal had to offer (big chords, complicated-yet-melodic guitar solos, perfect-pitch voices, creative drumming), and it wasn't getting stale by getting overplayed everywhere.
And the fifth single, the title track The Miracle, contains a message of hope for the future of mankind, despite it being ''a miracle we need'' to have ''peace on earth and an end to war''; essentially, it's the same message as John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over), but neither overplayed nor overused in ad campaigns for organizations which may or may not spend more money on advertizing and administrative fees and salaries than they do on helping the people they're supposedly collecting money for. I mean, sure, Lennon's song is a little better, objectively, but The Miracle deserves some air time alongside it, and I'm doing my part by naming it my Video Of The Week:
Fun fact: for most of the video, four British kids play the parts the members of Queen, sharing the stage with the actual adults at the end. The child playing singer Freddie Mercury is actor Ross McCall, of Band Of Brothers fame. Paul Howard, who plays the part of guitarist Brian May, is the frontman in Silvery, a London-based rock group.
Merry Christmas. I wish you peace of all kinds, but mostly peace of mind.