Written and Media by Emma Canady. [divide]
Hamilton: An American Musical has swept through the nation. Based off the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow, the musical about Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton debuted Off-Broadway in February 2015 before transferring to Broadway. The musical, with music, lyrics, and book written by the star Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, was met with outstanding reviews. Like most people who have seen or listened to this incredible hip hop musical, I am completely smitten. Here are my top ten reasons why you need to listen to Hamilton right now.
1. Almost All Of The Cast Are POC
Yes, you read that right. There is not one white man that plays America’s Founding Fathers. As Miranda puts it, Hamilton is a story of America then, told by America now. Miranda has even said that he would be pleased to see a rendition where the cast is gender bent, as well as race bent. Female George Washington is something I need desperately, even if I didn’t know it until now.
2. “Wait For It”
Just the whole song. You guys might not understand how incredibly emotional I am about this song. Just think for one second, “Do I have any emotional attachment and immense sympathy for VP Aaron Burr?” If the answer is no, listen to this track. Your life will forever change. Lines like, “Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints. It takes and it takes and it takes.” will literally blow you away. The slow climb until Burr finally pushes past his calm exterior and sings his amazing chorus. The way I am sobbing and covered head to toe in goosebumps at Leslie Odom Jr.’s incredible voice as he slowly finishes his song.
3. King George
If you were ever in history class thinking “I wonder if King George ever felt like he was getting dumped by America” then listen to “You’ll Be Back”. Jonathan Groff belts out an amazing pop-styled breakup song. You’ll be laughing and, as usual, covered in goosebumps because these guys are so freaking talented. Favorite line? “When push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”
3. THE DISDAIN IN HAMILTON’S VOICE IN “Stay Alive”
(Sorry for the cap locks, guys. I am just so in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda.) Hamilton is so disgusted with Lee and it is apparent through his vocal inflections. Miranda is such a talented guy.
4. The Foreshadowing In “Ten Duel Commandments”
Just— my babies.
5. “Say No To This”
This song is about how Hamilton was seduced by a married woman and how her husband extorted him for money. And it is every bit as entertaining and “oh, snap!” as you think it will be.
6. All Of The Cabinet Battles
Guys, seriously, they made all of those boring, stuffy cabinet meetings into rap battles. The founding fathers get into rap battles. How are you not all listening to it right now?!
7. Phillipa Soo
Everything about Phillipa Soo is life changing. She is prettier than anyone you’ve ever seen and her left eyebrow has more talent than my whole body. Don’t even get me started on her voice— actually, too late, prepare for a mini-rant. “Burn” is one of the most emotional songs in the play and one of Soo’s only solos. Her incredible voice portrays the pain and determination that Eliza Hamilton personifies. You will not go into Hamilton expecting to come out a member of the Eliza Hamilton Defense Squad but by the end of “Burn”, you will have a t-shirt, a foam finger, and a burning desire to protect E. Ham at all costs.
8. “It’s Quiet Uptown”
I have listened to the full album around twenty times now (no, I am not joking, it really is that good) and I have not been able to listen to this full song without crying. Not once. Between the soft voices of the women choir, the bafflingly beautiful lyrics, and the gentle ways Miranda’s voice breaks as Hamilton mourns and tries to “live with the unimaginable”.
9. “YOUR OBEDIENT SERVANT”
Okay, I didn’t need to caps lock that. But you guys need to understand. This song is magical. These boys basically seconds away from flipping each other off and saying “Yo Momma” jokes; Hamilton and Burr are just ramming into each other, insulting each other and threatening their lives, before politely signing off their letters “I have the honor to be your obedient servant.” It’s so wonderful.
10. “The World Was Wide Enough” but my heart isn’t, I am literally broken by this point.
Both Burr and Hamilton give such emotional performances. You will be broken long before Hamilton goes into his monologue, but trust me, you will break some more when you get there.
These are just a few amazing aspects of Hamilton; these barely scratch the surface of the brilliance of the musical. I implore you all to listen to it so that, maybe, the midwestern love for it will force the actors to do a show near me. Take one for the team, guys, and listen to it on YouTube, Spotify, or shell out a few bucks to own the whole album from iTunes.