EXPLICIT CONTENT WARNING
No joke, I have several MONTHS-old drafts of this same post, but none of them ever felt right.
Hamilton happens to be my partner’s favorite musical, so that motivated me to (finally) finish.
I tried to turn this into a list of my favorite Hamilton show moments, but all my favorite moments came from the same twelve or so songs.
Top Ten List it is!
In my opinion, these are the ten best songs from Hamilton (in no particular order.)
I can’t ignore Samuel Seabury’s beautiful solo and impressive key change.
Seabury and Hamilton’s battle has some of the show’s best wordplay.
I love the chant, “FOR THE REVOLUTION!” set against Seabury’s desperate, “FOR SHAAAAAAAME!”
Also, Hamilton’s great insult: “Don’t modulate the key, then not debate with me!”
I love a good musical metajoke!
I love this song and I will brook no arguments, thank YOU.
“Meet Me Inside”
Let me get all my weird preferences out of the way.
I picked several songs for their emotional impact.
The tension in the argument between Washington and Hamilton grows until Hamilton screams, “CALL ME ‘SON’ ONE MORE TIME.”
It’s a mistake; the track goes silent except for heavy backbeats.
A dream team shatters in this number.
I really wanted to get Christopher Jackson on this list and this is my favorite of his songs.
“Cabinet Battle #2”
It’s hard to describe the hilarity of James Madison’s “…France” line out of context.
I laugh EVERY TIME.
I love that Hamilton opens his rap with, “You must be outta your GODDAMN MIND.”
COOL. NICE NEUTRAL OPENING THERE, SIR. LOVE TO SEE A CIVIL DEBATE.
I’m with Jefferson in this song, though his arguments to aid France go unheard.
He gets his revenge with the devastating, “You’re NOTHING without Washington behind you.”
Followed by the even more brutal, “DADDY’S CALLING.”
Thomas Jefferson might be my favorite character.
HaHAAAAA, just kidding, but he’s up there.
Best of all, the song that immediately follows this one is the fabulous…
“Washington On Your Side”
Best raps in the show.
Best RAPS in the SHOW.
I obviously have a Daveed Diggs agenda. Alas, I admit it.
He’s SO GOOD, THOUGH.
This team-up between Jefferson, Madison, and Burr is TOP-NOTCH.
One climactic line: “If Washington isn’t gon’ listen to disciplined dissidents, this is the difference: this kid is OUT!”
Followed by THE TAGLINE TO END ALL TAGLINES: “Southern motherfuckin’ Democratic-Republicans!”
In the production I saw, the trio did an enthusiastic synchronized dance to that line.
I can’t find a recreation of this dance anywhere, but TRUST ME WHEN I SAY it was wonderful.
Picture backwards jumping with downward punches followed by a slow-mo walk.
“The Election of 1800”
I know this song’s melody is a rehash of “Washington On Your Side,” but the POLITICS.
Sassy Jefferson versus upstart Burr is a FASCINATING watch.
The campaign dynamics (Jefferson, though unlikable, knows where France is; Burr, though relatable, lacks political opinions) feel a little too relatable after the Disaster of 2016.
Burr and Hamilton reconcile briefly before Hamilton RUINS EVERYTHING.
This song sets off Burr’s rampage of revenge.
IT’S 1800, LADIES, TELL YOUR HUSBAND, “VOTE FOR BURR!”
“Yorktown (World Turned Upside Down)”
HERCULES. MULLIGAN’S. SOLO.
Lyrically perfect, doused in wordplay.
My favorite line is the last one: “You knock me down, I GET THE FUCK BACK UP AGAIN.”
Confession: I cry every single time.
No one expects the Revolutionaries to win.
When they do, their joy is palpable.
It’s beautiful. It would have made A GREAT ACT 1 FINALE, but SOMEONE decided to sing about babies instead.
Full disclosure: I HATED this song the first few times I heard it.
I would skip it while listening to the soundtrack.
I started listening to it again because I kept missing out on some great character moments.
Burr incredulously watches Hamilton’s rise to power and reveals his long game.
Angelica moves to London with her rich, boring husband.
Hamilton and Eliza’s marriage starts to disintegrate.
John Jay and James Madison write thirty-four of the eighty-five Federalist Papers.
Hamilton wrote…THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE.
A counterpart medley with Hamilton, Eliza, and Angelica results in one of the most beautiful chords in the show.
Jaw-drop musical moment.
It’s no “Yorktown,” but I’ll take it.
“The Reynolds Pamphlet”
I’ve alluded to my dislike of the Hamilton character.
I drafted an entire essay on my feelings, but I lost interest.
If any of you were curious about my hatred, this song is the moment I lost all sympathy for the jerk that is A. Ham.
His affair discovered, Hamilton admits to the whole thing…without apologizing.
His defense amounts to, “Y’all, I cheated on my wife, BUT I DIDN’T COMMIT TREASON. I’M A GOOD, MORAL PERSON. Sure, I’ve done bad things, but not THAT bad!”
He COMPLETELY disregards Eliza’s feelings with this decision.
Also, THIS is how you spin the situation? Instead of owning up to things, you DEFEND YOUR CHARACTER?
To watch the other characters (including Burr, Jefferson, Madison, and KING GEORGE) rip into Hamilton feels so GOOD.
And I love how scandalized everyone is by Hamilton’s misdeeds. “In his own house? DAMN!”
The peanut gallery comments during Angelica’s solo are my favorite.
Let’s talk about Angelica’s takedown of Hamilton:
The dude HONESTLY thinks Angelica has arrived to save his reputation.
Angelica reminds him of Eliza’s feelings (and continued existence, THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING) during this ordeal.
Her brutal, “I’m not here for you,” healed my soul.
He’s never gonna be president now. That’s one less thing to worry about.
BUT AT LEAST HE WAS HONEST WITH OUR MONEY.
In general, I don’t love Eliza Schuyler’s songs.
Some of the Hamilton marketing leans on the love story aspect and I’m not into it.
And, for least favorite songs, “Helpless” is definitely one.
STILL, this song knocked out my beloved “One Last Time” in terms of emotional impact.
I like that Eliza doesn’t put up with Hamilton’s betrayal.
Hamilton’s affair is the last straw in a series of disappointments for Eliza. She burns all Hamilton’s corroborating correspondence and abandons attempts to fix their union.
I love the line, “You forfeit all rights to my heart.”
Though forgiveness comes later, Eliza sets boundaries here: Hamilton will not hurt her again after all he’s done.
NOW WHO’S FEELING HELPLESS?
“The Room Where it Happens”
At the Leslie Odom, Jr. concert I attended in October, the band opened with “Wait For It,” Aaron Burr’s signature Act 1 song.
I told my mom, “It probably won’t happen, but I want him to sing ‘The Room Where it Happens.'”
I didn’t want to get my hopes up. It’s a hard song to sing solo.
I lost all composure.
You want a good Aaron Burr solo?
In this song, he FINALLY admits what he wants.
The actor in the production I saw played it so well.
Before describing what he wanted, the Aaron Burr looked nervously around the stage.
His voice grows stronger as his desires become clearer.
HE WANTS TO BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS.
From this moment, he tries to get there.
That’s character development.
Best character moment of the show. Fight me.
I left off some great songs that felt obvious and some good songs with additional powerful moments.
I want to know your favorites.
Defend “My Shot” or “Dear Theodosia.” Reorder my list. Get more Eliza songs on there.
Go ahead. Do it.