Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I've known about Hamilton--the Broadway musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, telling the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton in rap and hip-hop tunes--for quite some time now. In fact last time I was in New York I tried to buy a ticket (bahahahahaha! that maniacal laughter should give you a sense of how well that went. Although, side note, I did see Fun Home on that trip which was positively transcendent). So, anyway, I knew about the play's existence and thought it sounded very cool and imagined that some day (maybe when it comes to San Francisco in 2017) I might manage to see it. But it never occurred to be to buy the record of a show I'd never seen. That is until I read Wesley Morris' piece in this New York Times Magazine "Spectacular" 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going (scroll down to #2). Morris writes so convincingly about the Hamilton cast recording, saying things like "Even if you can’t score tickets, the cast album is its own transcendent experience. ...a 46-number souvenir for an experience most of us won’t be experiencing. At less than $20...this is a more-than-adequate substitute for the budget-conscious. It’s a gateway to obsession. To know someone who has this album is to know someone who needs a restraining order." And, at least if my own experience is anything to go on, Mr Morris knows whereof he speaks. It's not only an insanely good album, but listening to a story told in music in this way is a new and thrilling experience (as opposed to listening to a record to remember a show you saw--without having seen the show the record becomes its own stand-alone thing). I've owned my digital copy of this album for two weeks and my obsession is full-blown. It's a bit too embarrassing to admit all the various permutations said obsession takes, but other funny and clever people have very accurately depicted it here and here. But let's be kind to ourselves (supposing at least a few of you reading this may share my enthusiasm), shall we, and call it inspiration rather than obsession?