First, I'll go on record saying that I like this album a lot. Some fans don't, and that's fine. This thread shouldn't become a back and forth debate ("It rocks!" vs "It sucks!").
What I want talk about is how I've noticed over repeat listenings, as well as listening to things like the unreleased demos medley and the karaoke versions, that some songs have a distinct pieced-together feel. This doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the album and I don't mean it to be a criticism.
Here are a few observations:
This, by all accounts, was a creative period for the band. The sessions seem to have involved a lot jamming and experimenting. No doubt the band fed off each other and recorded everything, from specific demos to just playing for the sake of playing.
The instrumental jam on "The Miracle" (the title track) sounds like it comes from one such session, placed in the song after most or all of the rest of the song was finished. Listening to the karaoke version, you can hear more closely where at the end of the jam, leading into the "That time will come..." finale that the drums don't quiet line up.
"Breakthru" we all know comes from two other works, the unfinished "A New Life Is Born" by Freddie and the pretty complete "Breakthru" by Roger. I wonder if, before completing the song as we know it, it had a different beginning or intro.
"My Baby Does Me" has the same back percussion backing track as "I Guess We're Falling Out". The finished song, again as we know, came from "My Baby Loves Me". I wonder which came first ("Falling Out" or "Loves Me"). Were they trying different things with that backing track?
"Hang On In There" owes its third movement to the "Fiddley Jam" bit as heard on the Medley Tape. Going back to "Falling Out", part of the guitar finale of *that* demo bears a striking similarity to the tempo change of "Hang On". Anyone else notice this?
"Stealin'", though not an album track, I still consider it a Miracle track. The 11:42 demo appears to have simply edited and reworked into the standard version. All the sections of the released version are present in the demo and it seems like nothing at all was re-recorded or overdubbed. Someone cut the demo down to a workable song. I've always like the released version, just thought I'd say that.
Again, spotting these things doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the album. If anything, I gain a greater appreciation of the album by seeing the creative process at work in its construction.