I’ll admit it, Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius. The past month saw a stable, rational person like myself bursting into song in public spaces, poring over books about the American Revolution and looking up fashion styles in the early 1800’s. It takes a real genius to elicit such an act of surrender in a person so moderate and sober. But that’s enough about me, here’s why all of you need to listen to Hamilton.
For starters, let’s just focus on the musical element. Miranda employs a variety of styles and genres from the American canon- hip hop, soul, jazz, blues etc and it works perfectly! Not only does it accurately portray America’s diverse musical heritage and culture, it’s also therapeutic- I’ve had it on during work, doing chores just when I’m in the kitchen. The musical reprises and refrains almost play out like a mantra and you find focus and calm in the work that you carry out.
Then there’s the prolific character that Miranda has chosen as the focus of his musical-Alexander Hamilton. A founding father, a patriot, a scholar and a true revolutionary. For the uninitiated, this is the best way to get acquainted with a great period in American history with a fantastic cast including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr , John Adams and more! If history isn’t your thing, I guess hearing one of the founding fathers drop a rap verse is reason enough to check it out.
However, Miranda’s greatest accomplishment is making a period in history so contemporary, in both form and style. By evoking a period of the past, Miranda gets us to reflect on matters that concern the immediate world around us, a true work of craftsmanship on his part. This is possibly the strongest reason why you need to listen to it, or see it, if you’re lucky!