It has now been a solid month and a half (maybe longer) since I blogged about Hamilton, and I figured that I had let my obsession rest for long enough that I could stir it up again without sounding like a broken record. At least in my blog. My friends and family just tell me to shut up every time I mutter a Hamilton reference under my breath, which is basically all the time.
Nevertheless, in honor of the pre-order release and two song preview of the much-anticipated Hamilton mixtape at midnight last night I have decided to rank all forty-six Hamilton songs. That’s a lot of songs, so bear with me. Or just skip ahead to your favorites.
Also, spoiler alerts here… but this is history so I’m not sure how much spoiling I can really do. I guess that depends on how well you paid attention in U.S. History.
- The Adams Administration
I understand the necessity of this song as it explains the changing political climate and sets up Hamilton’s political fallout, but it’s brief and disconnected from the personal fallout that we all know must be coming.
- Stay Alive (Reprise)
This song is just so sad it has to go towards the bottom of the list. Sept huit…
- Blow Us All Away
So maybe I just don’t like Phillip, but I feel like I should like him and this song doesn’t let me.
- Schuyler Defeated
This sets up the fact that Burr and Hamilton’s relationship has hit a turning point and is now headed for destruction, but Phillip Schuyler doesn’t really have a role, and I’m not sure why he deserves to have a song named after him.
- What Comes Next
It seems weird that King George should be the one to bridge the gap between the end of the war and the founding of the United States, but it somehow works. Nevertheless, this song doesn’t really provide any new material, just a transition.
- A Winter’s Ball
Despite some great lines like “we’re reliable with the ladies!” and “Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him,” this is another transition song. It does its job well, but it’s nothing special.
- The Story of Tonight (Reprise)
This is a super clever take on the first instance of this song, but Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, and Hamilton are supposed to be singing this melody to accompany ambition, not marriage. It doesn’t quite fit…
- Take a Break
I love that Angelica steps back into the scene here, and we’re introduced to Phillip’s sept huit neuf thing, plus we see Hamilton’s obsession with his work, but (sorry to burst your bubbles) this song isn’t historically accurate in the slightest and I’m not really sure why it’s here. Regardless, it gets about a bazillion bonus points for comma sexting.
- We Know
Yeah, Jefferson, Madison, and Burr are jerks. They’re just looking to dig up dirt on poor, innocent Hamilton. Oh wait…Hamilton’s a jerk too? And he’s having an affair? And being blackmailed? Okay… well then…
- That Would Be Enough
Eliza is perfect, and Hamilton can’t think about anything but fighting. This song is beautiful, but makes me incredibly ticked off at Hamilton. What’s new?
- The World Was Wide Enough
WHY MUST I FEEL SO MUCH EMPATHY FOR THE MAN WHO JUST KILLED THE PROTAGONIST? Why am I crying over the founding fathers? Why am I crying for the dude who shot Hamilton??? These emotions make no sense. The song leaves me conflicted. Parts of it are only okay, but then other parts (Hamilton’s soliloquy and Burr’s reflection) are really amazing.
- The Reynolds Pamphlet
Hamilton, you’re an idiot. I hate this. You just ruined your career AND your life. Congratulations. Redeeming factor: the “never gon’ be President now” is fantastic. Also, why in the world would Hamilton think Angelica was here for him?
- The Election of 1800
One last political decision by Alexander Hamilton: support the arch nemesis over the guy who could potentially be a friend. Good call. That’ll go over well.
- The Story of Tonight
Raise a glass to raw, unchecked ambition and creating a legacy along with a nation. This song would be considerably higher on the list if John Laurens’s final “Raise a glass to freedom” letter was included on the cast album. Because wow.
- I Know Him
King George III has fully descended into madness at this point. “They will tear each other into pieces! Jesus Christ this will be fun!” He has absolutely no reason to still be popping up in this musical, but it’s so perfect we don’t even care.
- Your Obedient Servant
This song is so ridiculously passive aggressive.
- Meet Me Inside
My all-time favorite line to scream at the top of my lungs: CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME!
- Stay Alive
Three things: One, Hamilton and Washington balance each other perfectly. Two, Lee is an idiot. Three, Hamilton actually shows some restraint until John Laurens shows up to drag him into the mud.
- Ten Duel Commandments
This song is beyond clever. Duels had a clear code of conduct, and they were generally accepted despite the fact that they obviously weren’t a good idea. This song explains the process clearly and creatively.
BuzzFeed- post by KerrKerrKerr
- Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)
Hamilton finally gets his chance at battle, and he makes the most of it. Winning the war brings on this surreal feeling of success contrary to expectation, something that is fully realized in the soft tones of disbelief in the line, “The world turned upside down.”
- Cabinet Battle #2
“Should we honor our treaty, King Louis’s head?”
“Uh, do whatever you want, I’m super dead.”
Take that Jefferson, you Francophile.
- Best of Wives and Best of Women
Eliza is perfect and Alexander waits until now to figure that out? Well, better late than never… too soon?
- Washington on Your Side
The rhymes in this song are SO GOOD! There are internal rhymes as well as end rhymes, and they’re extensive—not just boxed into cute little couplets. The first verse rhymes “reactions” with “factions,” “fractions,” “retractions,” “passion,” “ration,” and “cash in.” Also the speed of the raps increase as the tidal wave of heated opinions grow. It’s genius.
- Aaron Burr, Sir
How many times can we really rhyme “Burr” with “sir”? A lot. This song sets up Burr as Hamilton’s foil, friend, and enemy all at the same time.
- Farmer Refuted
I thought this song was super boring until I actually learned Hamilton’s part, and now it’s one of my favorites to sing. Hamilton just likes fighting with everybody, and apparently his “dog speaks more eloquently” than Samuel Seabury.
- Right Hand Man
Washington has easily the most epic entrance in the entire musical, and it suits him so perfectly. Hamilton’s idealism and ambition come to Washington’s notice, and by the end of the song Hamilton rises up as Washington’s aide-de-camp.
- Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story
Eliza told everyone’s stories, and now Lin-Manuel Miranda is telling hers. Bonus points for Phillipa Soo’s slight inhalation of breath at the end of the song (which is the most satisfying ending ever), but minus points for the cheesy repetition of “the orphanage” in the middle.
- Say No to This
I know we pretty much all hate Hamilton for this song, but it’s REALLY good. And the “helpless” echoing Eliza’s declaration of love is heart-breakingly poignant.
“Hamilton wrote THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE!” I read the Federalist Papers, and that’s pretty much how they go. Enough said.
- Guns and Ships
One of the proudest moments in any Hamilton fandom experience is finally being able to rap this entire song. The only thing better is this post:
- What’d I Miss
Jefferson not only missed the entire American Revolution, he also apparently missed the hip-hop revolution, as he is still stuck in the jazz age. You’ve got some catching up to do, Jefferson.
- You’ll Be Back
An early favorite, King George III’s love letter to the colonies is absolutely hilarious. It’s Beatle-esque tune and over-the-top confidence that the colonial uprising will fail make it the peak of comedy, and a much-needed escape from the onslaught of ambition that defines Act 1.
Eliza is so cute and shy and perfect. And she can sing. Like really sing. It’s a good thing she loves Alex so stinkin’ much, too, ‘cuz things are gon’ get rough. But for now it’s a fairytale and she scored Prince Charming.
In the midst of flying insults, harsh political changes, and Hamilton’s own downward spiral, this song is literally the eye of the hurricane. It’s a much-needed moment of calm both musically and lyrically as time slows and Hamilton reflects on the events that have brought him to this point in his life.
- History Has Its Eyes on You
The magic of this song is that it simultaneously humanizes George Washington, who would otherwise seem inhumanly perfect, and challenges Hamilton to think about the meaning of his actions.
- The Schuyler Sisters
The catchy lyrics and beautiful harmonies make this song stand out in all the best ways. When grade schoolers are in love with Hamilton, this is usually their favorite song, and that alone makes it really fun to sing. Plus, Peggy’s just great.
- Cabinet Battle #1
An in-your-face argument in which the winner literally determines the financial future of the nation. That’s a high-stakes rap battle.
- One Last Time
Chris Jackson’s strong, smooth voice and an excerpt from Washington’s actual Farewell Address make this song an obvious candidate for the top-ten on this list. Washington believed our nation could live without him, and by the end of the song we have enough confidence in the American promise to know he’s right.
- The Room Where It Happens
Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton get together to compromise over the U.S. financial plan and the location of the nation’s capital. That’s really boring, unless it’s told from the point of view of Aaron Burr—the guy who desperately wanted to be in the room but wasn’t invited. It’s a turning point for Burr as he realizes he needs to take action if he is going to find his way into the inner-circle of the political arena, but it’s also an awesome show-tune. Click boom.
Eliza’s response to her husband’s public declaration of his infidelity is to erase herself from the narrative. To literally burn her correspondences and fade to the background. She has “married an Icarus. He has flown too close to the sun.” Hamilton had two wonderful, amazing, supportive, loving women on his side and he let them both go. This song is tragedy. Eliza is perfect.
- It’s Quiet Uptown
She forgives him?!? Cue tears. Did I mention that Eliza is perfect?
- Alexander Hamilton
I love a good exposition song, and this one does not disappoint. It traces Hamilton’s journey from St. Croix to New York City and sets the stage for his philosophy of living every day like it’s his last. Plus it’s super catchy.
- Dear Theodosia
I’m not even a parent and this song makes me proud of my nonexistent children. And the youth of this nation. And this nation. Even in the midst of a political season when there is so much focus on the failings of our country and our political system, this song reminds me of the people who worked so hard to make the United States a nation that we could be proud of. They made something out of nothing with the knowledge that their children and their children’s children would continue to make it a better place. It’s not perfect, but they built a foundation for us, gave the world to us, and now it’s time for us to blow them all away.
Magic. With brilliantly constructed couplets, crisp raps, a powerful voice, and an even more powerful subject, Angelica’s logical tale of her love for both Hamilton and her sister is empowering and haunting.
- Wait For It
This song is the reason I love Aaron Burr so stinkin’ much. Yes, his tendency to sit back and watch events play out is extremely contrary to Hamilton’s blind ambition, but it’s the result of his background, and is relatable in a lot of ways. He is willing to patiently wait for his chance at happiness and a legacy, which ends up working out pretty well for him. Plus, Leslie Odom Jr.’s voice just makes me melt inside.
- My Shot
The perfectly penned couplets in this song are filled to bursting with poetic devices: internal assonance, parallel structures, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme, repetition, metrical patterns and variations, allegory, double-entendres, and so much more. Not to mention Lafayette’s navigation of the English language through rap, Burr’s definitive indecisiveness, a widespread frantic struggle to rise up, and Hamilton’s declaration that “I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry.” It took Lin-Manuel Miranda an entire year to write this song because he felt like Hamilton’s ambition was worthy of nothing short of perfection, and he rose to the occasion. Bravo.