Rambling about Hamilton

I’m in like the second or third wave of new Hamilton fans, but I’ve become completely engrossed by it. I tweeted a few things (starting here), and then realized I wanted to expand that out just a smidge.

I have a huge soft spot for older musicals, but I haven’t much listened to them since my teen years. When I say “older”, I also mean ones that were older then. ER got really into Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but that just didn’t do it for me, either story-wise or musically. My three favorites are solidly and consistently West Side Story, Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady. In particular, I had an obsession with My Fair Lady; I think we had the Broadway cast album on vinyl, and a local production ended up being my first date.

On the other hand, I was 100% not a musical theater kid. I once played Glenda in a library (!!!) production of the Wizard of Oz, and my junior year of high school I was in choir, but both of those were about the social experience. I’ve always been shy and awkward and not a particularly good singer either.

On the third hand, even now I have a soft spot for movies that have strong musical components. I’ve probably given Matt & Trey more attention than I would otherwise because those guys do comedy musical numbers so well.

So when I finally listened to Hamilton (thanks, library Hoopla!), the catchy tunes just wormed right the hell into my brain. I think I had it stuck in my head before I’d made up my mind whether it was too cheesy.


Because, yo: it’s cheesy. Um, battle rap about government debt, anyone? C keeps describing it as “Schoolhouse Rock”, which isn’t wrong exactly.

But it’s cheesy in a way that hits right square on target for me. I’m a HUGE history nerd. History trivia sticks in my head better than pretty much anything else on earth. And the code-switching wide-ranging styles of the music includes lots that I really groove on. For reasons I was not into hip-hop as a teen (see also: long-germinating essay on GTA) but I’ve expanded musically as I get older. Influenced in part by dance-off movies and Fast & Furious? So all in all this musical cuts across such a wide swath of my brain that I can’t help but love it.

Postscript: the genius.com annotation of the album is one of the wonders of the internet.