Little known fact about me: I’m a huge hip hop fan. What I love about good hip hop is the linear storytelling, which is unique to the genre, in my opinion. I also really love Broadway musicals.
For months I heard nothing but rave reviews about the Broadway show, Hamilton. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it infuses hip hop with traditional Broadway show tunes. And it works splendidly. Not only is it one of my favorite all-time hip hop albums, it’s one of my favorite albums, period.
Hamilton is all about Alexander Hamilton, the dude most of you know on the $10 bill. His story is a rich one, and Miranda is able to make the bastard, orphan, son of a whore, founding father one of this year’s hottest historical figure. Adapted from Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton, Miranda carefully tells Hamilton’s life story and weaves in large parts of American history with incredible accuracy. But, what really sets the Broadway aspect of the album apart is the diverse cast. People of color make up the majority of the cast, which really gives it a refreshing feel. The play is breaking up racial restrictions in casting and I can’t wait to see the trend move on to other musicals and mediums. Miranda took one of the original founders of America and seamlessly infused today’s most popular music style to create an incredibly unique, and outstanding, aural experience. Being that I am stuck in the middle of nowhere Texas, the album is the closest I can get to actually seeing the performance live on stage. But thanks to Miranda’s care with the album and lyrics, I can also experience it visually in a way I’ve never been able to before. I can’t wait to sell my kidney so I can get to New York and experience it in real-life.
Sold as two discs, (Act I on disc one, Act II the other) Hamilton comprises of 46 songs coming in at roughly two and a half hours. Executive produced by Black Thought and Questlove (?uestlove) from the Roots, the album is a lot to digest, but the great part is even though it’s telling a singular, linear story, the songs hold their own and are able to stand alone and possibly become radio singles. Since the material and lyrics are so verbiose and dense it would be almost impossible to review each song individually, so I’m just going to include my favorite moments from the album. Please add yours in the comments because there are just so many.
- “I’m a general, wheeee!”
- “Don’t modulate the key then not debate with me”
- All of “Dear Theodosia”
- The introduction of the Schuyler sisters
- When Hamilton says “oh shit!” when Aaron Burr tells him he’s dating a woman (Theodosia) who’s married to a British officer
- King George’s laugh
- Renee Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo in literally every moment (“Satisfied” is one of the strongest tracks on the album)
- “Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him.” “That’s true!”
- “When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again”
- “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
- “Burr! Talk less! Burr! Smile more! Burr!”
- “A dot Ham! A dot Burr!”
- ATTACK RETREAT ATTACK RETREAT ATTACK
- The “click, boom” that ends “The Room Where It Happens”
- “Brrrah brrrah I am Hercules Mulligan”
- “Son/I’m not your son/watch your tone”
- The tearful “It’s Quiet Uptown”