Pop Culture, Recommendation

The Hamilton Musical Is AMAZING

I’ve seen a lot about Hamilton, the hit Broadway musical, on the Internet.  As more and more people I trust fell under its sway, I side-eyed their good taste.  Before I listened to it, my reservations were mostly: how can a musical about a founding father possibly be interesting? So I watched the video below, and the idea that hip hop is the language of a revolution intrigued me enough to give it a go.

Within the first 30 seconds of the first song, I thought, “Oh no.  This is the beginning of an obsession.”  Within the first few songs, I raced home because I knew I wanted to document my reactions (which were mostly dancing in my driver’s seat and then screaming “AHHH!!!” at the end of the song because I had so many unnameable emotions).

I’m throwing my opinion in with the rest and highly recommending Hamilton.  Buy it on iTunes, Amazon, or listen for free on Spotify, just LISTEN TO IT oh my gosh.  And if you need further convincing, here is me fangirling over every single song and displaying some of the incredible lyrics (songs I especially liked are bolded).  

ACT I (click here for the Broadway Booklet with lyrics)

1|  Alexander Hamilton

I’m immediately invested.  Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Eliza Hamilton, and George Washington give us the background on Alexander: orphaned, abandoned, brilliant.  I’M SOLD.  The song builds and builds and my emotions are ALL IN.

Here’s the YouTube video where you can listen to the first song.  I won’t provide these for every one, because you can do the work, but for now, I want to get you interested!

AARON BURR
Well, the word got around, they said, “This kid is insane, man”
took up a collection just to send him to the mainland.
“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came, and
the world is gonna know your name.  What’s your name, man?”

ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Alexander Hamilton.
My name is Alexander Hamilton.
And there’s a million things I haven’t done,
but just you wait, just you wait…

2|  Aaron Burr, Sir

Burr and Hamilton meet!  From my AP History class, I know that Burr winds up shooting Hamilton (I also know this because in the first song, Burr said, “I’m the damn fool that shot him.”)  They’re already being set up as foils:  both orphans, but where Hamilton is all passion, Burr is restraint.  THIS IS GONNA GET GOOD.

We also meet Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan, but I don’t care about them yet.

HAMILTON
So how’d you do it? How’d you graduate so fast?

BURR
It was my parents’ dying wish before they passed.

HAMILTON
You’re an orphan.  Of course!  I’m an orphan.
God, I wish there was a war!
Then we could prove that we’re worth more
than anyone bargained for…

3|  My Shot

This is the song of Hamilton, from what I can gather on the Internet.  And while it’s not my favorite song, it IS really powerful.  It’s the song of the revolution, insisting that this is our moment, and refusing to let it pass by.

HAMILTON
What are the odds the gods would put us all in one spot,
poppin’ a squat on conventional wisdom, like it or not,
a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists?
Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!

Oh, and I talkin’ too loud?
Sometimes I get over excited, shoot off at the mouth.
I never had a group of friends before.
I promise that I’ll make y’all proud.

LAURENS
Let’s get this guy in front of a crowd.

HAM/LAUR/LAF/MULL/ENSEMBLE
I am not throwing away my shot.
I am not throwing away my shot.
Hey yo, I’m just like my country,
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
and I’m not throwing away my shot.

4|  The Story of Tonight

I can’t tell Mulligan and Laurens apart, but I’m really digging Lafayette’s French accent while singing.  This song feels very Les Miserables: a bunch of young men dreaming of self-importance and a changed world while the audience sits with mixed emotions, knowing the victory and tragedy that is to come.  Still, it’s mostly a placeholder of a song.

LAURENS
Raise a glass to the four of us.

HAM/LAU/MULL/LAF
Tomorrow there’ll be more of us.

HAMILTON/LAURENS
Telling the story of tonight.

5|  The Schuyler Sisters

Finally, some women!  Angelica the bold, Eliza the passionate, and Peggy the fearful: the Schulyer Sisters, reminding us that the women of the revolution existed and had dreams of their own.

ANGELICA
I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine
So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane.
You want a revolution?  I want a revelation
So listen to my declaration:

ELIZA/ANGELICA/PEGGY
“We hold these truths to be self-evident
That all men are created equal”

ANGELICA
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson,
I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!

6|  Farmer Refuted

Pre-revolution, we get a farmer preaching caution against rebelling and Alexander SHUTTING. HIM. DOWN.  Plus more development with Burr being all “back off” and Hamilton being all “no.”

HAMILTON
Why should a tiny island across the sea
regulate the price of tea?

BURR
Alexander, please!

HAMILTON
Burr, I’d rather be divisive than indecisive,
drop the niceties.

7|  You’ll Be Back

YESSSSS.  I love King George!  His songs are the best – hilarious, dangerous, and an excellent example of an abusive relationship.  And whoever is singing his part, holy cow, his prissy British accent is absolutely perfect.  This song is golden.

KING GEORGE
You’ll be back.
Soon you’ll see.
You’ll remember you belong to me.
You’ll be back.
Time will tell.
You’ll remember that I served you well.
Oceans rise, empires fall,
we have seen each other through it all,
and when push comes to shove,
I will send a fully armed battalion
to remind you of my love!

8|  Right Hand Man

The war begins, and we get our first – epic – introduction to George Washington, the swagger hero we all knew him to be.  This is the song all history classes should play to get kids interested in the Revolutionary War.  Names and events are dropped in seconds, the tension builds, Burr advocates caution, but Washington picks Hamilton as his number two because he is all in, and by the end:  AHHH!  I WANT TO FIGHT IN A WAR.  Holy cow, this song.

WASHINGTON
It’s alright, you want to fight, you’ve got a hunger.
I was just like you when I was younger.
Head full of fantasies of dyin’ like a martyr?

HAMILTON
Yes.

WASHINGTON
Dying is easy, young man.  Living is harder.

9|  A Winter’s Ball

This is just a lead-in to the next song, where we start cashing in on some rooomance.  But for now, Burr is just all jealous of Hamilton’s success until they get all male bravado, bragging about their prowess with the ladies.

BURR
How does the bastard, orphan, son of a whore,

go on an on,
grow into more of a phenomenon?
Watch this obnoxious, arrogant, loudmouth bother
be seated at the right hand of the father.
Washington hires Hamilton right on sight,
But Hamilton still wants to fight, not write.

10|  Helpless

Ugh, the!  Emotion!  Eliza falls head over heels for Hamilton, which by this point in the musical is no surprise.  He’s a charmer, for sure.  This song is especially interesting, I think, because of how it shows a woman’s place in that world: looking on from the sidelines, waiting while someone else negotiates your love life, hoping and praying but ultimately…helpless.

ELIZA
I have never been the type to try and grab the spotlight.
We were at a revel with some rebels on a hot night,
laughin’ at my sister as she’s dazzling the room
then you walked in and my heart went “Boom!”
Tryin’ to catch your eye from the side of the ballroom,
everybody’s dancin’ and the band’s top volume.

11|  Satisfied

AND THEN TORTURE.  The last song was so cute, and this one comes along and fills in the blanks and RIPS MY HEART OUT.  The “rewind” section sounds amazing, building into: Truth Revealed.  Excuse me while I over-identify with Angelica and cry my eyes out.  The politics, the emotions, the sacrifice.  UGH.  I have so many emotions I have to use two lyric sections.

ANGELICA
But Alexander, I’ll never forget the first time I saw your face.
I have never been the same,
Intelligent eyes in a hunger-pang frame,
And when you said “Hi,” I forgot my dang name,
set my heart aflame, ev’ry part aflame,

FULL COMPANY
This is not a game…

HAMILTON
You strike me as a woman who has never been satisfied.

ANGELICA
I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.  You forget yourself.

HAMILTON
You’re like me.  I’m never satisfied.

ANGELICA
Is that right?

HAMILTON
I have never been satisfied.

And later, when Angelica shows her incredible talent for rapping:

ANGELICA
So this is what it feels like to match wits
with someone at your level!  What the hell is the catch? It’s
the feeling of freedom, of seein’ the light,
it’s Ben Franklin with the key and kite!  You see it, right?
The conversation lasted two minutes, maybe three minutes,
ev’rything we said in total agreement,
it’s a dream and it’s a bit of a dance,
a bit of a posture, it’s a bit of a stance.
He’s a bit of a flirt, but I’m ‘a give it a chance.
I asked about his fam’ly, did you see his answer?
His hands started fidgeting, he looked askance?
He’s penniless, he’s flying by the seat of his pants.

Handsome, boy, does he know it!
Peach fuzz, and he can’t even grow it!
I wanna take him far away from this place,
then I turn and see my sister’s face and she is…

ELIZA
Helpless….

12|  The Story of Tonight (reprise)

Back to the relationship at the heart of this musical: Hamilton and Burr.  Burr comes to the wedding to offer his congratulations, reveals that he’s seeing a married woman, and once again their worldviews are at odds, since Hamilton can’t figure out why Burr won’t just act and take what he wants.

HAMILTON
It’s alright, Burr.  I wish you’d brought this girl with you tonight, Burr.

BURR
You’re very kind, but I’m afraid it’s unlawful, sir.

HAMILTON
What do you mean?

BURR
She’s married.

HAMILTON
I see.

BURR
She’s married to a British officer.

HAMILTON
Oh shit…

13|  Wait For It

Now we get Burr’s romantic life, but really this song is Burr explaining his cautious worldview.  I also relate to him pretty strongly: his dedication, self-sacrifice, and sense of duty.  But at the same time, he’s overwhelmed by love, death, life, and Hamilton, these forces that take and take and take.  In the face of all that, “I am the one thing in life I can control.”  This song is a perfectionist’s anthem.

BURR
Death doesn’t discriminate
between the sinners and saints
it takes and it takes and it takes
and we keep living anyway.
We rise and we fall
and we break
and we make our mistakes.
And if there’s a reason I’m still alive
when everyone who loves me has died
I’m willing to wait for it.
I’m willing to wait for it.

14|  Stay Alive

This song is a lot of narrative, but again, if history were taught this way, I bet a lot more people would be into it.  We get the rundown of the war’s progress, of Washington’s promotion of Lee over Hamilton (whose writing is too valuable to risk in combat), of Lee’s cowardice (in an epic “ATTACK” “RETREAT” section of the song), and of Laurens’ decision to challenge Lee to a duel to defend Washington’s honor.

LEE
Washington cannot be left alone to his devices
indecisive, from crisis to crisis.
The best thing he can do for the revolution
is turn n’
go back to plantin’ tobacco in Mount Vernon.

COMPANY
Oo!!

WASHINGTON
Don’t do a thing.  History will prove him wrong.

HAMILTON
But, sir!

WASHINGTON
We have a war to fight, let’s move along.

LAURENS
Strong words from Lee, someone ought hold him to it.

15|  Ten Duel Commandments

This song is so fun!  It’s impossible to pick just one set of lyrics, because the whole song is one long explanation of how a duel of that day-and-age works, set to a fantastic sound, with a little Hamilton/Burr antagonism thrown in because FORESHADOWING.

BURR
Can we agree that duels are dumb and immature?

HAMILTON
Sure.
But your man has to answer for his words, Burr.

BURR
With his life?  We both know that’s absurd, sir.

HAMILTON
Hang on, how many men died because Lee was inexperienced and ruinous?

BURR
Okay, so we’re doin’ this.

16|  Meet Me Inside

Ooooo, things are looking rough between Hamilton and Washington, who is not pleased that a duel was done in his honor without his permission.  But in this quick exchange we get so much more:  Hamilton’s increasing frustration at being unallowed to fight, and his constant awareness of Washington’s social privilege contrasted with Hamilton’s desperation.

HAMILTON
Charles Lee, Thomas Conway,
these men take your name and they rake it through the mud.

WASHINGTON
My name’s been through a lot, I can take it.

HAMILTON
Well, I don’t have your name.  I don’t have your titles.
I don’t have your land.
But, if you–

WASHINGTON
No.

17|  That Would Be Enough

Unfortunately, after “Satisfied,” I’m fully Team Angelica.  But still, I can admit that Eliza is sweet, compassionate, and ugh, perfect. Along with Angelica/Eliza, this song brings to the forefront Hamilton’s confusion between never being satisfied/this being enough.  INTERESTING QUESTION that I think about a lot.  When do you stop pushing yourself, living boldly and dangerously, and when do you let a smaller life “be enough”?

ELIZA
If you could let me inside your heart…
Oh, let me be a part of the narrative
in the story they will write someday.
Let this moment be the first chapter:
where you decide to stay
and I could be enough
and we could be enough
that would be enough.

18|  Guns and Ships

LAFAYETTE!  This dude rocks.  I’m guessing after the last song (my history of this time is full of holes) Hamilton left Washington’s side and went home?  But now Lafayette urges Washington to bring him back.  And in the midst of all that, the song is AWESOME.

BURR
How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower
somehow defeat a global superpower?
How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire?
Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross’ flag higher?
Yo.  Turns out we have a secret weapon!
An immigrant you know and love who’s unafraid to step in!
He’s constantly confusin’, confoundin’ the British henchmen.
Ev’ryone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!

COMPANY
Lafayette!

19|  History Has Its Eyes On You

This song is a bit meta, reminding us that this engrossing story we’re caught up in is in textbooks across the country.  It’s disorienting in the best way, listening to Washington remind Hamilton that what they do is terrifying because of his awareness that they are making history.

WASHINGTON
Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
when I was young and dreamed of glory;
You have no control;
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
I know that we can win.
I know that greatness lies in you.
But remember from here on in,
History has its eyes on you.

20|  Yorktown (The Wold Turned Upside Down)

Hamilton is finally on the battlefield with Lafayette (inspiring a nice nod to modern politics when they sing “Immigrants: we get the job done”).  Along with his personal victory is the war’s victory, and the music swells, making me more patriotic than most American experiences.  What a scrappy little nation we were.

HAMILTON
I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.
This is where it gets me: on my feet,
the enemy ahead of me.
If this is the end of me, at least I have a friend with me,
weapon in my hand, a command, and my men with me.
Then I remember my Eliza’s expecting me…
not only that, my Eliza’s expecting.
We gotta go, gotta get the job done,
gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!

21|  What Comes Next?

More King George!  YAY!  The sass is palpable, and I am absolutely delighted.

KING GEORGE
What comes next?
You’ve been freed.
Do you know how hard it is to lead?

You’re on your own.
Awesome.  Wow.
Do you have a clue what happens now?

Oceans rise.
Empires fall.
It’s much harder when it’s all your call.

All alone, across the sea.
When your people say they hate you,
don’t come crawling back to me.

22|  Dear Theodosia

What a sweet little break from the chaos of the war.  Instead of focusing on their differences, this song highlights Hamilton and Burr as fathers, proud of their children, eager to provide something new for them: a better life in a new nation.

BURR
I’m dedicating every day to you.  Domestic life was never quite my style.
When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart.
And I thought I was so smart.

You will come of age with our young nation.
We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you.
If we lay a strong enough foundation
we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you, and you’ll blow us all away.

23|  Non-Stop

Whew!  Before intermission, we get a quick update on our major players:  Hamilton and Burr become lawyers, but while Burr is content to go back to regular life, Hamilton continues to dive into politics, writing 51 of 85 essays in The Federalist Papers and accepting Washington’s offer to be the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.  Meanwhile, Angelica has moved to London with a boring husband, and Eliza just wants Hamilton to stop and be a husband for a while.  But that won’t happen, because Hamilton is “non-stop.”

HAMILTON
We won the war.
What was it all for?
Do you support this constitution?

BURR
Of course.

HAMILTON
Then defend it.

BURR
And what if you’re backing the wrong horse?

HAMILTON
Burr, we studied and we fought and we killed
for the notion of a nation we now get to build.
For once in your life, take a stand with pride.
I don’t understand how you stand to the side.

ACT II (click here for the Broadway Booklet with lyrics)

1|  What’d I Miss

After the drama of Act 1 (aka the Revolutionary War), I wondered how I would stay interested in the second half of Hamilton’s life.  Answer:  Thomas Jefferson!  Burr’s rapping introduction immediately re-invested me.  IF ONLY ALL POLITICS WERE SET TO HIP HOP my life would be so different.

BURR
1789.
How does the bastard orphan,
immigrant decorated war vet
unite the colonies through more debt?
Fight the other founding fathers til he has to forfeit?
Have it all, lose it all,
you ready for more yet?
Treasury Secretary.  Washington’s the President,
ev’ry American experiment sets a precedent.
Not so fast.  Someone came along to resist him.
Pissed him off until we had a two-party system.
You haven’t met him yet, you haven’t had the chance,
’cause he’s been kickin’ ass as the ambassador to France
but someone’s gotta keep the American promise.
You simply must meet Thomas.  Thomas!

COMPANY
Thomas Jefferson’s coming home!

2|  Cabinet Battle #1

Um, again.  If politics were rap battles, I would be so much more interested!  This song brought back all my American history lessons of small vs. large goverments, federal vs. state, the creation of a two-party system.  But this song explained it all way better, and in just three and a half minutes.  By this point in the musical, I’m 100% convinced all high schoolers ought to listen to it as required classwork.

JEFFERSON
If New York’s in debt–
why should Virginia bear it?  Uh!  Our debts are paid, I’m afraid.
Don’t tax the South cuz we got it made in the shade.
In Virginia, we plant seeds in the ground.
We create.  You just wanna move our money around.
This financial plan is an outrageous demand,
and it’s too many damn pages for any man to understand.

3|  Take a Break

Oh noooo it’s not over!  Hamilton is writing almost-love letters to Angelica while his wife Eliza teaches their son to rap adorably.  I HAVE TOO MANY FEELINGS about men marrying nice women while seeking out the wisdom and advice of smart women on the side.  But it’s too bad for both these ladies, because Hamilton’s real love is his work.

ANGELICA
My dearest Alexander,
You must get through to Jefferson.
Sit down with him and compromise,
don’t stop ’til you agree
your fav’rite older sister,
Angelica, reminds you
there’s someone in your corner all the way across the sea.

In a letter I received from you two weeks ago
I noticed a comma in the middle of a phrase.
It changed the meaning.  Did you intend this?
One stroke and you’ve consumed my waking days.
It says:

HAMILTON/ANGELICA
“My dearest Angelica”

ANGELICA
With a comma after “dearest,” you’ve written

HAMILTON/ANGELICA
“My dearest, Angelica.”

4|  Say No to This

Hahaha, oh my gosh HAMILTON.  Keep it together man.  No wonder Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a musical about this guy!  He’s got more than enough drama to fill a musical.  With his wife and his sister-in-law upstate, Hamilton starts an affair with Maria, whose husband finds out and blackmails Hamilton.  All in one song!  It’s catchy, ridiculous, and the chorus unsuccessfully trying to keep Hamilton from making a mistake is wonderful.

ENSEMBLE
No! No!
Say no to this!

HAMILTON
I wish I could say that was the last time.
I said that last time.  It became a pastime.
A month into this endeavor I received a letter
from a Mr. James Reynolds, even better.  It said:

JAMES REYNOLDS
Dear Sir, I hope this letter finds you in good health,
and in a prosperous enough position to put wealth
in the pockets of people like me: down on their luck.
You see, that was my wife who you decided to

HAMILTON
Fuuuu-

5|  The Room Where It Happens

This big band swing song is so much fun!  Hamilton admits to heeding Burr’s advice (“talk less smile more”) while Burr finally admits that all his waiting isn’t enough (he wants to be “in the room where it happens”).  Their growing character arcs are surrounded by the meeting between Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison in which Hamilton gets his national bank so long as the Virginians can move the capital to the Potomac.

BURR
Or did you know, even then, it doesn’t matter where you put the U.S. Capital?

HAMILTON
Cuz we’ll have the banks, we’re in the same spot.

BURR
You got more than you gave.

HAMILTON
And I wanted what I got….

God help and forgive me,
I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me.

6|  Schuyler Defeated

This is a little baby song, but wow!  (Haha, look at me saying “wow” about a historical event that used to be boring to me.)  Burr steals the Senate seat from Schuyler, Hamilton’s father-in-law.  And that’s all that happens, because this song is just an introduction to the next one.

HAMILTON
I’ve always considered you a friend.

BURR
I don’t see why that has to end!

HAMILTON
You changed parties to run against my father-in-law.

BURR
I changed parties to seize the opportunity I saw.
I swear, your pride will be the death of us all!
Beware; it goeth before the fall.

7|  Cabinet Battle #2

Ooo, the takedowns!  Jefferson and Hamilton argue about whether or not they should aid France in their own revolution as thanks for France’s help to the Colonies.  Their arguments are, uh, not out of place today!  Both make good points, which is probably why our country is still arguing around this point two hundred years later.

HAMILTON
You must be out of your Goddamn mind if you think
the President is gonna bring the nation to the brink
of meddling in the middle of a military mess,
a game of chess, where France is Queen and Kingless.
We signed a treaty with a King whose head is now in a basket.
Would you like to take it out and ask it?
“Should we honor our treaty, King Louis’ head?”
“Uh…do whatever you want, I’m super dead.”

8|  Washington On Your Side

Jefferson is KILLING IT at rapping, holy cow.

JEFFERSON
Ev’ry action has its equal, opposite reactions.
Thanks to Hamilton, our cab’net’s fractured into factions.
Try not to crack under the stress, we’re breaking down like fractions.
We smack each other in the press, and we don’t print retractions.
I get no satisfaction witnessing his fits of passion.
The way he primps and preens and dresses like the pits of fashion.
Our poorest citizens, our farmers, live ration to ration
as Wall Street robs ’em blind in search of chips to cash in.
This prick is askin’ for someone to bring him to task.
Somebody gimme some dirt on this vacuous mass so we can at last unmask him.
I’ll pull the trigger on him, someone load the gun and cock it.
While we were all watching, he got Washington in his pocket.

9|  One Last Time

They just keep pulling me in deeper: now I’m emotional listening to the actual farewell address of George Washington. This whole musical is just one sneaky attempt to make history come alive!

Okay, but some analysis.  I’ve been so focused on the duality of Burr/Hamilton that I only now realize Washington is their happy medium.  He’s eager enough to fight when it is necessary, but he’s also secure enough to step away and wait when the moment is right.  He’s the true role model of the musical.

WASHINGTON
We’re gonna teach ’em how to say goodbye.
You and I–

HAMILTON
Mr. President, they will say you’re weak.

WASHINGTON
No, they will see we’re strong.

HAMILTON
Your position is so unique.

WASHINGTON
So I’ll use it to move them along.

HAMILTON
Why do you have to say goodbye?

WASHINGTON
If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on.
It outlives me when I’m gone.
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made.
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree.
A moment alone in the shade,
at home in this nation we’ve made.
One last time.

10|  I Know Him

King George is back!!  I didn’t expect that.  AND I just saw that Jonathan Groff is singing him!?  That’s amazing!

KING GEORGE
John Adams?!
I know him.
That can’t be.
That’s that little guy who spoke to me all those years ago.
What was it, eighty-five?
That poor man, they’re gonna eat him alive!
Oceans rise.  Empires fall.
Next to Washington, they all look small.
All alone, watch them run.
They will tear each other into pieces,
Jesus Christ, this will be fun!

11|  The Adams Administration

Boring song.  Just a lead-in to the next one, and as much as I enjoy Burr’s aggressive narration, I just want to move on to the next song, because this one is less than a minute.

12|  We Know

Burr, Jefferson, and Madison confront Hamilton about his shady money deals, which they think mean he’s stealing from the treasury.  Nope, Hamilton admits his infidelity and the subsequent blackmail so that they’ll believe he didn’t commit treason.  But will they keep his secret?

MADISON
You are uniquely situated by virtue of your position-

JEFFERSON
Though “virtue” is not a word I’d apply to this situation-

MADISON
To seek financial gain, to stray from your sacred mission-

JEFFERSON
And the evidence suggests you’ve engaged in speculation-

BURR
An immigrant embezzling our government funds-

JEFFERSON/MADISON
I can almost see the headline, your career is done.

13|  Hurricane

I love getting this far into the story and still having background to reveal.  In this song we get Hamilton’s writing beginnings after a hurricane in the Caribbean.  He’s been so cocky and self-assured, this song is a nice return to his desperation as everything seems to be crumbling around him.

HAMILTON
In the eye of a hurricane
there is quiet
for just a moment
a yellow sky.

When I was seventeen a hurricane
destroyed my town.
I didn’t drown.
I couldn’t seem to die.

14|  The Reynolds Pamphlet

Aaaaand now I’m over-identifying with Hamilton, poor sod.  Getting the jump on his political enemies, he publishes a pamphlet detailing his affair with Maria and the blackmailing (“Have you read this? You ever see somebody ruin their own life?”).  Oh, Hamilton.  I feel you.  But sometimes people don’t want all the honesty.

ANGELICA
I know my sister like I know my own mind,
you will never find anyone as trusting or as kind.
I love my sister more than anything in this life,
I will choose her happiness over mine every time.
Put what we had aside.
I’m standing at her side.
You could never be satisfied.
God, I hope you’re satisfied.

15|  Burn

Noooo, this one is so sad!  Eliza reacts to Hamilton’s public declaration of infidelity, and it breaks my heart.  At the same time as her heart is breaking, she exerts what power she has by burning his letters to her (“erasing myself from the narrative”) so that no one will have any more access to her privacy.

ELIZA
Do you know what Angelica said
when we saw your first letter arrive?
She said,

“Be careful with that one, love.
He will do what it takes to survive.”

You and your words flooded my senses.
Your sentences left me defenseless.
You built me palaces out of paragraphs,
you built cathedrals.
I’m re-reading the letters you wrote me.
I’m searching and scanning for answers
in every line,
for some kind of sign.

16|  Blow Us All Away

Philip (Alexander’s son) has grown up, and he’s just as impetuous and arrogant as his father used to be.  It’s a nice contrast, because he gets himself in a duel and we get to see Alexander issue caution and dignity for once.  Too bad it wasn’t enough…

PHILIP
George!

GEORGE
Shh!  I’m tryin’ to watch the show!

PHILIP
Ya’ shoulda watched your mouth before you talked about my father though!

GEORGE
I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true.
Your father’s a scoundrel, and so, it seems,
are you.

ENSEMBLE
Ooooooh!

17|  Stay Alive (reprise)

UGH there’s so much heartbreak in this man’s life!  Philip is shot in the duel and dies….again with the foreshadowing!  I’m not ready!!

PHILIP
Mom, I’m so sorry for forgetting what you taught me.

ELIZA
My son-

PHILIP
We played piano.

ELIZA
I taught you piano.

PHILIP
You would put your hands on mine.

ELIZA
You changed the melody every time.

PHILIP
Ha.  I would always change the line.

ELIZA
Shh.  I know, I know.

18|  It’s Quiet Uptown

*sobs*  Grace, forgiveness, the maturity that comes from tragedy.  Alexander has changed, but I KNOW WHAT’S COMING.  THIS IS UNBEARABLE.

HAMILTON
I spend hours in the garden.
I walk alone to the store,
and it’s quiet uptown.
I never liked the quiet before.
I take the children to church on Sunday,
a sign of the cross at the door,
and I pray.
That never used to happen before.

19|  The Election of 1800

Hah!  “Can we get back to politics?” “Please?” “Yo.”  Best way to get us back from the tragedy into some hip hop!  BUT OH NO, Burr just opens up to Hamilton about learning from him, about chasing what he wants…and then Hamilton endorses Jefferson!!!  AHHH!

HAMILTON
I have never agreed with Jefferson once.

JEFFERSON/MADISON/ENSEMBLE
Oh!

HAMILTON
We have fought on like seventy-five diff’rent fronts.

JEFFERSON/MADISON/ENSEMBLE
Oh!

HAMILTON
But when all is said and all is done,
Jefferson has beliefs.  Burr has none.

20|  Your Obedient Servant

It’s happening!!  Burr is pissed at Hamilton, and in a series of polite letters, they agree to duel!  I wish I didn’t remember this part of U.S. History!

HAMILTON
Mr. Vice President,
I am not the reason no one trusts you.
No one knows what you believe.
I will not equivocate on my opinion,
I have always worn it on my sleeve.
Even if I said what you think I said,
you would need to cite a more specific grievance.
Here’s an itemized list of thirty years of disagreements.

21|  Best of Wives and Best of Women

This is a baby less-than-a-minute song, but it serves its purpose of reminding us that poor Eliza just lost a son to a duel, and now her husband is off to another!  POOR ELIZA, the point of the whole show.

22|  The World Was Wide Enough

OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN.  What a song.  What a death song.  AHHHH!   Sung mostly from Burr’s perspective, we get to see his fear, his strengthening belief that Hamilton is there to kill him.  And then the shots ring out, and in the moment of his death, the music disappears, and Hamilton sings a medley of old choruses in a conspiracy to break my heart (it works).  And then Burr leads us out again, knowing Hamilton never meant to shoot at him, lost in regret.  Oh man.

BURR
Death doesn’t discriminate
between the sinners and the saints,
it takes and it takes and it takes.
History obliterates.
In every picture it paints,
it paints me with all my mistakes.
When Alexander aimed at the sky,
he may have been the first one to die,
but I’m the one who paid for it.

I survived, but I paid for it.

Now I’m the villain in your history.
I was too young and blind to see…
I should’ve known.
I should’ve known
the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.

23|  Who Lives. Who Dies. Who Tells Your Story

Oh, okay, I didn’t expect THIS to be the place where I would actually almost shed tears.  But in the wake of Alexander’s death, Eliza steps up like a CHAMPION and reveals herself as a true hero, loving her sister despite their mutual love of Alexander, going through his letters and makes his story known, raising funds for the Washington Monument, speaking out against slavery, and establishing the first private orphanage in NYC.  I’M SORRY FOR BEING ON TEAM ANGELICA.  I’m on Team Everyone!

ELIZA
And I’m still not through.
I ask myself, “What would you do if you had more-“

ELIZA AND COMPANY
Time.

ELIZA
The Lord, in his kindness,
He gives me what you always wanted.
He gives me more-

ELIZA AND COMPANY
Time.

I’ve always loved world history, but until now, I mostly thought U.S. history was pretty boring.  I RECANT.  I was an idiot!  GO LISTEN TO HAMILTON.  And honestly, if you made it through ALL of that to read this last sentence, you’re already invested.  So go listen to it.

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3 thoughts on “The Hamilton Musical Is AMAZING”

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