cahn: (Default)
So there's one thing that really frustrates me a lot about the musical Hamilton, and that is the same thing as what I think is one of its great and wonderful strengths: I have become convinced that Lin-Manuel Miranda doesn't think in terms of melody. As someone whose musical traditions are a) classical, particularly classical violin, and b) 80's Broadway, with the Phantom/Les Mis blockbusters being the ones most strongly imprinted in my brain, I find it very hard to wrap my head around it. (And more relevant to my everyday life, it is very hard to belt out the songs to my baby, which is one of the big things I'm looking for in a musical right now, and as I have cheerfully done with Les Mis, Scarlet Pimpernel, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Beauty and the Beast, and others I can't think of right now.)

What I mean by 'not thinking in terms of melody' )
cahn: (Default)
(Uh, yeah, surprising no one, this is a bunch of words not solely about the Chernow bio, but a rather a lot of opinions on how Chernow's bio relates to the musical.)

4/5. I FINALLY finished the Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton, not just so I could write this post on it, but I could easily have taken another month otherwise. It's a very good and readable book, but it's also a very chewy book — it's not dense, I didn't have to read things twice or wait until I was in a super cognitive mood, like I did for Hild, but it's definitely the kind of book where I could read a couple of pages and then either go on or put it down for a couple of days.

Anyway! It was awesome and I totally understand how Miranda put this book down and was like "…surely someone's written a musical about this guy, right? Right???? No? I'm not going to throw away my shot Then I'll do it."

Chernow is clearly a fan of Hamilton, but this doesn't extend to thinking Hamilton can do no wrong. Chernow doesn't make excuses or try to rugsweep when his subject does something incredibly stupid — indeed his frustration is almost palpable. But more of that later on.

It's really really interesting to read after being obsessed with the musical. You know how Alexander Hamilton, in the musical, is this sort of archetypal hero who starts from nothing, gets caught up in all these Events, attains the pinnacle of success, and then falls from it? The historical Alexander Hamilton is all these things turned up to eleven. I mean, Miranda didn't exaggerate. If anything he downplayed Hamilton. If he'd also added that the boat Hamilton took to America literally caught on fire (I laughed out loud at this) and that, far from being a little gawky and awkward as an adolescent as he is in the musical, he was in fact possessed of an extreme poise and confidence, we wouldn't even have believed it, right? He would have come across as a complete Mary Sue, right? …And yet.

Is anyone surprised that this got long? No. )

Anyway! Highly recommended, whether or not you like or have any interest in the musical. If you are a huge fan of the musical-as-history, I would go so far as to say that this is a must-read so that you don't go around telling people that Alexander Hamilton punched the Princeton bursar (he didn't) — although the good folks at have annotated the lyrics so that you can get a pretty good idea for what's history and what's not.
cahn: (Default)
I will tryyyy to (mostly) shut up about Hamilton here. (Although I've started the Chernow biography and will inflict my thoughts on that on you at some point. In brief: ALL THE FEELINGS about historical Alexander Hamilton, and ALL THE FEELINGS about Miranda actually going for super historical accuracy, this is everything I've ever wanted in a history-based musical)

Anyway. This is just to say that there is a DW community now, [community profile] hamiltunes, where people are hanging out.
cahn: (Default)
Yup, I'm officially obsessed. The NPR streaming link is still up. It is also available to Amazon Prime members (free) and is on Spotify. It is possible to get a pdf of the official lyrics here.

Okay, now that I've had a chance to listen a second and third time, I… just want to talk about this ALL THE TIME. So! Things I Love About Hamilton:

There are a lot of things I love: cut for length of incoherent squee. And, I guess, mild spoilers for history. )

Ways in which Hamilton is currently annoying me:
-I have King George's da-da-da-da-da refrain in my head as an earworm now. And, I mean, Britpop as a genre is not really something I want to have in my head as an earworm.
-I have these meetings at work and I keep trying to force whatever anyone says into rap meter. BAH.

Also: Alexander Hamilton is TOTALLY the plebe immigrant good-looking Miles Vorkosigan. I mean, forward momentum was basically his life, can't you just see Miles doing basically every single thing Hamilton does, the fighting and the politics and the wrecking his life in his drive for forward momentum… Now I think Miles' voice will always be Miranda's voice in my head (although Miles looks nothing like Miranda, I guess). Also, now I kind of want someone to write Miles having the equivalent of the Reynolds scandal! (I guess Memory was… kind of… that, only with it transmuted to the mercenary army domain. And it turned out much better for Miles. It must be nice to have the author on your side :) )
cahn: (Default)
You guys, I've been listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton cast recording basically nonstop today and it is AMAZING. I don't even understand how a hip-hop rap musical about Alexander Hamilton even got MADE, but it DID and I don't even known anything about either hip-hop or Hamilton and it is completely awesome and I have been tearing up a little over it (though maybe that is breastfeeding hormones), and I just went and reserved the Chernow biography from the library. (Miranda apparently read the Chernow biography on vacation and thought, wow, that would make a great hip-hop musical! AND THEN HE WROTE IT. How cool is that?!)

Link here, I suspect it's only good until Sept 25, when the recording becomes available. ETA: Link is still good. Also, Amazon Prime is streaming it free for Prime members.

I want to see this so badly!



cahn: (Default)

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