“Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
These lyrics in the newly released Broadway musical “Hamilton” seem to perfectly describe us today.
This new hip-hop Broadway musical is exactly what it sounds like: a retelling of the life of founding father, Alexander Hamilton. From his impact on the American Revolution, to his affair with Maria Reynolds, and finally (spoiler alert) his tragic death in a duel with fellow politician and American Revolution veteran Aaron Burr, and everything in between.
The musical was written by, and stars Lin-Manuel Miranda. It took Miranda six years to write the musical.
It all began when Miranda picked up a biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow, and was instantly hooked on the unique story of the founding father.
“By the end of the second chapter, I was on Google saying, ‘Somebody has already made this into a musical’,” Miranda said in an interview with CBS. “How could anyone not have made this into a musical?”
For Miranda, it was a given that hip-hop would be the genre if the Revolution was put to music, as well as the building of the nation.
“It’s because of the energy,” Miranda said. “It’s because the hip-hop narrative is of writing your way out of your circumstance.”
The musical is full of very diverse songs, despite most of them being of the same genre.
Overall, “Hamilton” has a serious tone, but has plenty of comic relief to keep it fun. An example of this is the song “You’ll Be Back” sung by King George III, which is a break-up song between the American Colonies and Great Britain.
The musical includes cabinet debates between Hamilton, a Federalist, and Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, in the form of rap battles.
“The rap battles are, ‘I think the country should be like this. You think the country should be like that. And if you win, our country goes to ruin.’,” Miranda said. “It’s incredible verbal dexterity we get to employ.”
You may notice when listening, that they don’t sound like our founding fathers might have sounded. That’s because Miranda wanted the story of America then to be told by America now, hence the racially diverse cast.
This musical is the greatest thing to come out of the music industry in a very long time, with a Grammy to prove it. It makes history fun, as it should be.
Speaking of history, Miranda wanted historians to take “Hamilton” seriously, by making it as historically accurate as possible. He succeeded in doing so, with only a few slight changes made.
The musical is full of lyrical genius, with certain lines that you’ll have to listen to multiple times to fully understand what it means.
“Hamilton” is a musical you can listen to many times over and not get sick of. If you have the chance, you definitely need to check it out. The album is on Spotify, iTunes, and other music platforms.