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Mad for Ham: My obsession with Hamilton

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Source here.

Hey there! I know, I know… it’s been forever since I posted something, but the writing gods have forsaken me. It seems like I’m getting back on track, so I thought that I would rant and fangirl a bit about my obsession with the Original Broadway Cast Recording Album of Hamilton, the musical. (Get ready folks, this is going to be a long post.)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, and don’t know what Hamilton is all about, let me show you the light. Hamilton is a Broadway hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, a chief staff aide to George Washington, as well as the first Secretary of Treasury of the country. Oh, he also founded the financial system of the United States and The New York Post newspaper. The man lived a rich life and did a lot of things, which is why Lin Manuel Miranda, the writer of the musical, got inspired by his life to compose a Broadway musical about the man.

And while we’re on the subject of Lin Manuel Miranda, let’s talk about this genius for a second. This man spent from six to seven years researching, writing and composing the musics and lyrics for this piece of art, using every music genre he could get his hands on, especially rap and hip-hop, which is one of the most important aspects of the show.

The hip-hop and rap references, as well as the style of the songs is completely different and new from what Broadway is used to. The lyrics of the songs are intelligent, emotional and filled with meaning. It’s probably why the musical has been the “hottest ticket in town” for a few months, as well as the reason why they won 12 out of their record-breaking 16 nominations at the Tony Awards this year. It’s probably the reason why so many influential people, from politicians, to writers, to celebrities, have expressed how much they’ve loved the show.

If you’re like me, a mere mortal who hasn’t been able to see the show live and has had to be happy with listening to the soundtrack over and over again, then you probably understand just how powerful this thing is. To be so touched and moved by a musical without having seen it live is a testament of how powerful the songs (and the performance of the artists singing) are.

I have many favorite lines and songs from the musical, so I thought I’d share some of those with you guys. The entire album consists of 46 songs and my most favorite ones are 12. (And it was damn hard picking just 12). So let’s get into those…

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Source here.

From Act I, my favorite songs (and their respective lines) are:

  • My Shot. Favorite lines:
    • Aaron Burr- “Geniuses, lower your voices, you keep out of trouble and you double your choices.”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “And? If we win our independence? Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants? Or will the blood we shed begin an endless cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?”
  • The Schuyler Sisters. Favorite lines:
    • Angelica Schuyler- “I’m looking for a mind at work.”
    • Angelica Schuyler- “You want a revolution, I want a revelation, so listen to my declaration: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’ And when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel.”
    • Angelica, Peggy, Eliza Schuyler- “History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world.”
  • Helpless. Favorite lines:
    • Alexander Hamilton (spoken)- “If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it would have been worth it.”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “All I have’s my honor, a tolerance for pain, a couple of college credits and my top-notch brain.”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “No stress, my love for you is never in doubt. We’ll get a little place in Harlem and we’ll figure it out.”
  • Satisfied. Favorite lines:
    • Angelica Schuyler- “I remember that dreamlike candlelight like a dream that you can’t quite place. But Alexander, I’ll never forget the first time I saw your face.”
    • Angelica Schuyler- “It’s a dream and it’s a bit of a dance, a bit of a posture, it’s a bit of a stance.”
    • Angelica Schuyler- “At least my dear Eliza’s his wife. At least I keep his eyes in my life.”
  • Wait For It. Favorite lines:
    • Aaron Burr- “Love doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints. It takes and it takes and it takes. And we keep loving anyway.”
    • Aaron Burr- “My grandfather was a fire and brimstone preacher, but there are things that the homilies and hymns won’t teach ya.”
    • Aaron Burr- “I’m not falling behind or running late. I’m not standing still, I am lying in wait.”
  • Guns and Ships. Favorite lines:
    • Aaron Burr- “He’s constantly confusing, confounding the British henchmen. Everyone give it up for America’s favorite fighting frenchman!”
    • Marquis De Lafayette- “No one has more resilience or matches my practical tactical brilliance.”
  • Nonstop (My ultimate favorite song). Favorite lines:
    • Aaron Burr- “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “Burr, we studied and we fought and we killed for the notion of a nation we now get to build.”
    • Company- “How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write every second you’re alive?”

(I also love every single piece of dialogue in this song.)

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Source here.

Now… from Act II, my favorite songs are:

  • Cabinet Battle I. Favorite lines:
    • Alexander Hamilton- “A civics lesson from a slaver. Hey neighbor, your debts are paid ‘cause you don’t pay for labor. ‘We plants seeds in the ground. We create’ Yeah, keep ranting. We know who’s really doing the planting.”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “Madison, you’re mad as a hatter, son, take your medicine. Damn, you’re in worse shape than the national debt is in.”
  • The Room Where it Happens. Favorite lines:
    • Thomas Jefferson- “Well, I arranged the meeting. I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.”
    • Aaron Burr- “My God! In God we trust, but we’ll never really know what got discussed. Click-boom, then it happened. And no one else was in the room where it happened.”
    • Alexander Hamilton- “God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me.”
  • Burn. Favorite lines:
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “You built me palaces out of paragraphs. You built cathedrals.”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “I’m erasing myself from the narrative. Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart.”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “The world has no right to my heart. The world has no place in our bed. They don’t get to know what I said.”
  • It’s Quiet Uptown. Favorite lines:
    • Angelica Schuyler Church- “The moments where you’re in so deep, it feels easier to just swim down. The Hamiltons move uptown, and learn to live with the unimaginable.”
    • All men (except Hamilton)- “His hair has gone gray, he passes everyday, they say he walks the length of the city.”
    • Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)- “If you see him in the streets, walking by her side, talking by her side, have pity. He’s trying to do the unimaginable. See them walking in the park, long after dark, taking in the sights of the city. They are trying to do the unimaginable.”
  • Who lives, who dies, who tells your story. Favorite lines:
    • Aaron Burr- “But when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story?”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “I put myself back in the narrative. I stop wasting time on tears. I live another 50 years. It’s not enough.”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “I try to make sense of your thousands of writing. You really do write like you’re running out of time.”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “The Lord, in his kindness, he gives me what you always wanted. He gives me more time.”
    • Eliza Schuyler Hamilton- “And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell our story?”

Bonus: The song Take a Break has two sentences/phrases that give me so much life, but that song overall is not one of my top. The lines are:

  • Hamilton/Angelica- “And there you are an ocean away. Do you have to live an ocean away?”
  • Angelica Schuyler Church- “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.”
  • Angelica Schuyler Church- “I know your work’s important, but I’m crossing the ocean and I just can’t wait. You won’t be an ocean away. You will only be an ocean away.”

Okay… wow, let’s take a deep breath. We’re finally done.

If you love Hamilton as much as I do, I hope you liked this post. If not… well, I’m sure you didn’t read this far.

See you next post, xo.

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2 thoughts on “Mad for Ham: My obsession with Hamilton

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