Review: Hamilton Cast Album

Composer/lyricist/actor Lin Manuel Miranda broke the internet this Monday when he dropped the cast album of his new hit musical, Hamilton, on NPR's website. The album is released on iTunes this Friday (and on physical CD in October), but I wanted to go ahead and write my review since it's all I've listened to since it was released.

The Show
Lin Manuel Miranda's musical tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father of the United States. It's gained media attention for two reasons: its hip-hop style and its racially blind casting. Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, plays Hamilton himself. The show's Off-Broadway production was met with rave reviews and since its opening on Broadway on August 6, it has become almost impossible to gain a ticket. I'm personally impressed by its very modern telling of historical events and by its heart-wrenching love triangle (who knew that a good love triangle was still possible?). 

The Style
To be entirely honest, I didn't think I was going to like the music of Hamilton. The idea sounded great and the plot sounded interesting, but hip hop isn't exactly my thing. I'm typically very much a Boubil and Schoenburg girl. I've never been happier to be proved wrong. I'm strutting around campus singing "I'm not throwing away my shot!" I officially have a favorite rapper for the first time: Lin Manuel Miranda. The musical is a mix of rap, hip hop, pop, classic musical theatre, and so many other influences I can't even name. 

The Cast
There's no denying that Lin is the star of the show. His Hamilton is complex and compelling and his voice is sublime. Jonathan Groff plays a hilarious and ridiculous King George III. Phillipa Soo's voice portrays an incredible range of emotion as Eliza Schuyler and it's become my goal in life to rap like Renee Elise Goldsberry who plays Angelica Schuyler (because I know that I could never attain her incredible vocals). There truly don't appear to be any weak players in this entire cast. 

The Songs
Thus far, my favorite songs probably belong to the Schuyler sisters. "Satisfied" has quickly become my go-to song, but I can't resist the 90's pop goodness of "Helpless." "Burn" is Eliza Schuyler's ballad and one of the strongest songs on the album, in my opinion. I predict that "My Shot" will become iconic and I don't think my friend Ashley would forgive me if I didn't mention the brilliance of "The Room Where It Happened." 

This album is a gift to the theatre world. It's one that I will listen to again and again to find the subtle references (who else has found the reference to The Last Five Years?), to attempt to memorize all the rap sections, and to relive the heartache. It's somehow both the perfect musical to get you pumped up and to listen to when you're upset with the world. I, for one, can't wait to buy the album on iTunes this Friday so I can keep listening to it all day (every day). 
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