Broadway hits at the tip of your fingertips

Hamilton soundtrack a must listen

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Broadway hits at the tip of your fingertips

MAIA JANSSON, COLUMNIST

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The sound track from one of Broadway’s most recent and top hits, Hamilton, is definitely worth listening to. Created by Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical revolving around the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton is not Miranda’s first hip hop musical, he has produced other musicals such as 21 Chump Street and In The Heights. Miranda has said he got his inspiration for Hamilton after reading Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton and instantly felt Hamilton’s life story could be told in a hip-hop musical.

At first I was skeptical about listening to the soundtrack for the first time because the idea of hip hop musicals, especially ones on historical figures, sounded odd. However, as I listened to all 46 songs, I fell in love with the characters and music. It seemed like hip-hop was the best genre to describe Alexander Hamilton’s life.

The musical is not just hip hop, there are other genres thrown it. From more slow, vocal focused songs songs such as Dear Theodosia, Burn, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story. You’ll Be Back. To jazzy songs like What’d I Miss? and The Room Where It Happens, Hamilton is a melting pot of genres.

The music was not the only good part of Hamilton; the characterization, details and cleverness of the music make it better.

From act one to act two, Miranda pieced the known personalities of each character perfectly into the music. n Thomas Jefferson’s first song, “What’d I Miss?” instantly shows how he is a sassy character that will make Hamilton’s life more difficult due to his contrasts in personality and political views.

The more I Listened to the album, the more I realized how the cleverness of  Miranda. here were many hidden elements that I missed out on the first time I listened to it.

By double casting, Miranda was able to give double meanings for lines of characters.The actor playing Lafayette in act I also played Thomas Jefferson in act II. The actor playing Hercules Mulligan was also James Madison. In the first song, the four characters say, “We fought with him”, Mulligan and Lafayette actually fought beside Hamilton in the Revolutionary war while Jefferson and Mulligan fought with him politically after the war.

The constant repeats of lyrics, phrases, and rhythms in the album adds to the emotions and builds up of the storyline., One of Eliza’s most memorable lines, “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now” in “Schuyler Sisters”. Alexander repeats these lines during “It’s Quiet Uptown” when Eliza becomes depressed after they lose their oldest son Philip on top of his affair with Maria Reynolds. Hamilton is trying to put himself into her shoes and is trying to make up for how he acted.

The repeats of the lyrics can provide a listener with the personalities of characters. Aaron Burr can be characterized in the song “Wait For It” where he compares himself to Hamilton who takes all opportunities he sees while he prefers to wait for them. Burr’s character changes in “Room Where it Happens” after he realizes that he has missed out on life by waiting and would rather be in the “room where it happens”, this is where the conflict between Hamilton and Burr begin.

Another element that is incredibly clever is how the album is composed of 46 songs, Alexander Hamilton lived for 46 years. Also, his son Philip lived for only 19 years, and he is only alive for 19 songs.

A final thing that I loved about the album are the vocals. Miranda did an excellent job showing Alexander Hamilton’s vibrancy through his rapping. Leslie Odom Jr.’s smooth voice and rapping were perfect for Aaron Burr’s poise. Phillipa Soo’s beautiful voice showed Eliza’s sensitivity and elegance. Renée Elise Goldsberry was perfect for Angelica’s energy and likability, especially in “Satisfied”.

Hamilton is an amazing musical with an outstanding soundtrack that I would definitely recommend to anyone new or old to musicals. From an interesting storyline to beautiful music, the soundtrack will definitely draw any listener in.

⅘ stars.