In July my sister came to visit me. And she brought her love of Hamilton with her.
We worked a puzzle.
We listened to Hamilton.
And listened to Hamilton.
And listened to Hamilton.
On our drive back to Oklahoma (she flies in, then we drive back together so I have companionship when I drive down for a visit) we stopped in at Best Buy and bought the CDs. My car and I are short on technology and I still listen to CDs.
Since that time the ONLY music I have listened to is Hamilton.
I'm listening to it now.
I downloaded it to our computers.
If you have seen (I'm jealous beyond words) or listened to Hamilton you might get it.
I'm in the Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius camp.
Well, actually, he's a genius literally. He just happens to express his genius in a form that us mere mortals can understand and appreciate.
For me, appreciate is an understatement.
I love Hamilton.
It is like nothing I've ever heard.
The. Best. Musical. Ever!
(all those superlatives are for you Stephanie and any others of you who don't believe in superlatives)
Before my obsession began in full, I had only heard bits and pieces of Hamilton.
Like on the Tony awards and clips from other shows who sang its wonders.
But Hamilton, while it may seem good in part, is something that must be inhaled it its entirety to be fully appreciated.
For the genius of it all to appear.
Lin-Manuel Miranda and his co-writer have put together something that you just don't hear every day.
Or perhaps, EVER.
So what is it that I like so much about Hamilton?
Well, first lets talk story.
Unless you are an astute historian you probably don't know (or remember) much more about him than that whole Aron Burr vs Hamilton duel thing.
The story here is a "fan fiction" version of Hamilton's life from his boyhood through his death. A few liberties are taken here - that's what musicals do. They are, after all, written for entertainment.
Just the very idea that Miranda was on vacation, sitting poolside, reading Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton, (affiliate link) when he decided that this should be his next musical is kind of jaw dropping. I mean, who reads a 738 page biography about a founding father on vacation? Poolside.
I'm reading it now, but I'm on page 26 and probably won't get much further until this fabulous fall were having turns into winter. That's when you read 728 page biographies about a founding father.
But I digress.
Before I move on to the music part, I must encourage you to read this article about Hamilton - the musical. It is an excellent discussion regarding fan fiction and how Hamilton is a shining example of the genre. I learned a lot.
It also includes a smart discussion regarding the genius casting and portrayal of characters in the musical.
So let's talk music.
I'm a lover of music.
Practically every kind.
Not so much.
I like songs I can sing.
But then . . .
I heard it.
There is not a spot of this musical that doesn't make my mind happy.
I like the rap.
I like the hip-hop.
I like the more traditional songs.
I like the orchestration.
Every. Single. Note.
They way he does it.
That's what makes it genius.
The way you learn so much about each character through the cadence of his rap, the clothes he wears, the music behind him...
The way he uses and repeats certain thematic words and phrases throughout,
Like, counting to 10.
Not throwing away your shot.
Running out of time.
He also integrates certain musical phrases into different songs throughout the musical.
How they are repeated countless times in any number of songs and you just think "wow!!! I love the way he did that!"
I'm completely ineffective at trying to describe how incredible the whole music thing is.
And you have to listen to it many times to hear all the coolness.
Your mind can't process the brilliance as quickly as it comes.
Every time you listen you hear something new.
There's SO much cleverness.
Like the line "don't modulate the key and then not debate with me!"
OK. OK. OK. So maybe you can't get it out of context.
Perhaps I'm waxing too rhapsodic.
But I haven't even talked about the overall themes ...
Like "what is my story going to be - the one that makes my life worthwhile?"
and "who tells your story?"
and "the healthy transition of power"
and "when to act, and when to watch from the sidelines?"
And the questions,
Who is American?
Who are immigrants?
What's a brilliant woman to do in a man's world?
Perhaps you're thinking WTF???
Well, it was either this or writing about the election.
Which I may still do.
But for now I beseech you . . .
Get your hands on this music.
CD, Streaming, MP3, Vinyl
Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda here (fantastic interview!)
Another great interview here
Watch Hamilton's America from PBS
Official Hamilton website
And I'm in a quandry ...
Do I pause my devotion to Hamilton long enough to listen to Christmas music?
The struggle is real ...
I want to know.
Do you know Hamilton?
What did you think?
Will you listen to Hamilton just to make me happy?
While you are listening to Hamilton,