Working with E during his Musical career in high school really turned me on to the power of the artform. I have several cast recordings I adore: Spring Awakening, Wicked, Book of Mormon and Legally Blonde. The thing about cast recordings though, is you kinda need to know the story, or have seen the musical, to really enjoy them – which is why I think I was late to the Hamilton game: I’m shit for American History.
I listened to the cast recording once or twice, mostly all the way through. I thought it was good, great hip-hop but it just didn’t suck me in. But, it’s just been getting more and MORE attention lately so I gave it another try about 2 weeks ago but did so while keeping this page accessible so I could read what was happening in the story coinciding with each song and this did two things:
1) Provided me the story that supplied the emotion behind the music which had me actually sobbing this time through in some parts
2) Made me completely obsessed with the story of Alexander Hamilton.
Most of the music is just excellent examples of great hip-hop – wonderful beats you really want to dance to or sing along with. I’ve started learning it by heart now and I’m the whitest middle-aged woman in the all the land so you KNOW that is the most hilarious image in the planet. BUT I DO NOT CARE.
But some of the songs, like after (Is this a spoiler when it’s a 200+ year old story everyone probably knew but me?) his wife learns of his affair, or after his son dies, or when his wife sings her final number…those songs just simply tear at my heart and I somehow actually feel as though I’m watching it on stage, even though I’m driving in my car on the way to buy bread for lunches. SOBBING, I tell you, SOBBING.
I’m telling you all of this to encourage you to do what I did. Buy the cast recording (It’s like 40 tracks, it’s worth the money) and listen to it along with the wiki if you don’t know Hamilton’s life story. (I actually asked myself at one point, “Did he ever become president?” because I am TERRIBLE at American History. Spoiler Alert: HE DID NOT.) Listen to it once while learning the story, then listen to it again and again because you’ll pick up more each time and you’ll just be in awe of the lyrics and the call-backs and the general awesomeness of the musical.
And do all of this before next week because the cast will be performing at the Grammy’s one week from tonight and I am SO EXCITED. It’s very frustrating to fall in love with a cast recording and not have the means to see the show. I’ve seen photos from the show and I try to piece together what I think certain numbers look like, but it’s still hard to really grasp the whole picture in just audio and written form. I need a visual so bad it HURTS so I can not WAIT until Monday and I want you to become obsessed so you can be right there with me.