Yup. We drank the Kool-Aid. Hamilton delivers on the hype.
I’m a big musical fan, but most of them have two to three songs max I really appreciate. Hamilton on the other hand… is Non-Stop (sorry, couldn’t help it).
Of course everyone who has seen it has their own list of favorite songs and I’m certain the omission of some from this list can and will offend, but these are my personal favorites from the musical- in order (not an easy task).
8. “Helpless”: This is a solo song for Eliza Hamilton in the first act of the musical (performed by Phillipa Soo in the film). I am corny AF so any love songs in theater are what I’m looking for. I appreciated that this was not only an adorable love song but had a feel of the early 2000’s Pop/R&B. It feels like a perfect blend of show-tune and the songs we used to love back when we were kids from artists like Alicia Keys, Ashanti, and dare I say even a drop of Destiny’s Child.
7. “Burn”: A ballad performed by, you guessed it, Eliza Hamilton in the second act of the musical. Be warned now, Eliza is VERY present on my list; she’s very much the standout (in my opinion) of this musical and Phillipa Soo was just-wow.
This song comes after Hamilton publicly admitted to his affair leaving Eliza humiliated and taking control of the situation (as best she can), by burning the letters he wrote her.
Look, just like I like a good early 2000’s love beat, I equally if not more, enjoy a great F*** you song. This piece gives me feelings of Monica, bits of Keyshia Cole, and even nostalgia for “Me, Myself, and I” from Beyonce’s first solo album.
Is it the BEST heartbreak song I’ve heard from a musical? No, not by a long shot. It does however earn itself a strong nod in solidarity; F*** those cheaters.
6. “Dear Theodosia”: This is Aaron Burr’s parenthood song in the second act of the musical performed by Leslie Odom Jr. in the movie. Look, it’s very cute. I would love to see John Legend lend his voice to a cover of this. It’s very sweet but a bigger reason for why it makes my list is because if one knows some history it’s actually tragic.
Hamilton sings about his son while Burr sings to his daughter. We know the fate of young Hamilton by the end of the story, but what some might not know is that Dear Theodosia would disappear off the coast of South Carolina at the young age of 29. It is sad to hear a song dedicated to their children and the hopes they had for their futures only to know that both would not have very long. Odom Jr. is also a huge standout in the recorded version on Disney+ so expect more of him on the list.
5: “Wait For It”: So now the list gets very difficult to rank… This song is another performed by the brilliant Leslie Odom Jr. portraying Aaron Burr. The piano in the song immediately catches you and then the lyrics sung by Odom Jr. don’t let you go.
There’s something instinctively relatable to it. Miranda mentioned how he has felt like the Hamilton in his own life and other times very much the Burr; sometimes we are in a place where we feel things aren’t happening for us as fast as they are for those around us- a sensation so common in your 20’s… Marriage, buying homes, promotions, having children- the big checkbox things- while our own lives might feel like nothing is quite moving. We have to find hope in the fact that we just have to “wait for it.”
4: “Non-Stop”: This is the last song of the first act and its A LOT to unpack. Many of the characters jump in to lend their voices, there’s a ton of historical context, and it wraps up the first act with a ton of plot all while recalling pieces of previous songs performed to this point.
It might be the fact that it uses segments of previous songs that make it so special for me (particularly its brief recall of “That Would Be Enough”) but the song is high energy, summons so many different emotions, the performance has all these talented voices, and how it seamlessly carries the narrative is just, Chef’s Kiss*.
3. “That Would Be Enough”: This is it ya’ll! This is the love song that guts me from this damn musical. Phillipa Soo again as Eliza Hamilton delivering a performance that cuts to the core.
My corny self firmly believes that love, in it’s truest, is the simplest thing in the world- the easiest. I appreciate how the musical highlights throughout its runtime that Hamilton is this person constantly on the hunt for the next thing, the next thing, and the next thing. Meanwhile, his wife hopes that maybe he could find contentment in the simple fortunes life has granted them. That’s so real!
We can all speak to the experience, at least to the most general level, of wanting to be enough for someone as we are. The lyrics and Soo’s performance capture that yearning completely.
It’s the last forty seconds of the song where Eliza’s voice climbs with the string instruments as she expresses her wish for Alexander to be still with him that make it a clear top three.
2: “The Schuyler Sisters”: This song is TOO F**** catchy. I mean that in the best way possible. It’s the first song in the musical where I realized I was all-in for this ride. It’s upbeat, it’s playful, and the actresses that play Angelica (Renée Elise Goldsberry) and Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones) are fantastic alongside Soo’s Eliza.
There isn’t too much to dissect when it comes to this piece other than it’s a whole lot of fun, it’s great to sing-a-long to, I can leave it on repeat for hours and have no issues… It’s just fantastic. “and when I meet Thomas Jefferson Im’a tell him to include women in the sequel, work!”
I’m done, sorry. I told you I drank the kool-aid.
1: “Satisfied”: None of us are surprised. Coming off of the heals of “Helpless” in the first act this song showcases Goldsberry’s powerful voice through Angelica’s heartbreaking narrative. Not only is her performance perfect with the story but the lighting and choreography to replay moments from “Helpless” in the different context are spectacular. This is the song I wish I had been able to see her perform live on Broadway.
That is my list everyone! I know there are other songs you think i’m crazy for not including! The Room Where it Happened, You’ll Be Back, It’s Quiet Uptown… to name a few.
It doesn’t mean I don’t like those songs but rather these were my top picks. If you haven’t had the chance to yet, grab a DRINK and watch the musical on Disney+ now.