Hamilton, the Lin-Manuel Miranda penned musical, has a significant chunk of the United States in its “rap-influenced” tentacle grasp. The main problem with this is that it sucks. Hamilton is irredeemably awful and should be forced to listen to itself on repeat for the rest of eternity.
Saying that Hamilton is butt should not be reflexively taken as some sort of hipster-cool hating what’s popular sentiment. Hamilton’s popularity is just a symptom of its many underlying problems and not an issue at all. Ke$ha is popular and Ke$ha is good as hell. Hamilton’s popularity has actually allowed it to make its non-white cast fairly wealthy, which socialist and wealth gap politics aside, is pretty cool.
But that’s about the only thing cool about it. The rest of Hamilton blows fucking chunks. I mean Christ, listen to this shit.
Here is a better song. I’m so sorry about that last one.
Hamilton is sold as a ”rap musical”. Whatever that means. Whenever the rapping gets criticized its defenders are quick to point out that “it’s a musical” as if that somehow exculpates the Lil’ Flip-level bars Hamilton’s attendees are forced to listen to. This is true not just for the flow, which time and time again is ruined by being forced by non-professional rappers to fit the damn sonic-template of a modern-day corporate Broadway musical, but also for the lyrics themselves, which are trash.
Pabulum is a good a word as any to describe the lyrical content of Hamilton. It’s mostly just slight references to other musicals, George Washington in “Right Hand Man” at one point says he’s the very model of a modern major general, which c’mon man, and people singing ‘Oh look, here comes a famous person you remember from elementary school history”. Miranda also likes to do that horrible musical thing where they rhyme a word with itself, which is both bad song writing and bad rapping. It’s also 1000% percent more jingoistic than it needs to be.
But its lyrics and flows aren’t the only thing about Hamilton that’s butt. It’s the fact that so many adults have embraced something that has a moral/historical outlook of a child. Sure there might be a horse sex joke or two thrown in the book for kicks, see “Aaron Burr, Sir”, but it’s outlook on the world is more befitting a 4-year-old than a forty-year-old.
While it’s clearly impossible to put a PhD’s worth a historical knowledge into a musical it’s not impossible to at least try to represent what actually happened. For one, the celebration of Alexander Hamilton by the play is a bit ridiculous. The real-life Hamilton was essentially a monarchist and just a real dick. And the founding fathers were pretty much all slave holding bastards who in many ways laid the groundwork for a lot of our current problems. But that shit isn’t going to show up in Hamilton. Hamilton’s veneration of the Founding Fathers is one of the most fucked up things about it.
The other angle to look at is the musical’s supposed radical nature. People of color play all the parts. It’s semi-being marketed as a musical for the masses. It’s been lauded by liberals since it’s release and has gained plaudits from the center and even the right of the political spectrum. This in and of itself should be suspect. As history has shown us if it was a truly revolutionary/radical piece of art it would not have this sort of mass support. And it wouldn’t be as expensive as it is to get into. Everything truly radical/revolutionary can be accessed by all. That’s not the case for Hamilton. There were articles written about how Mike Pence watching Hamilton hopefully changed his views on tolerance. When you’ve reached that level in The Discourse you’ve gone to far.
So go listen to some damn music that wasn’t written with damn children in mind. Here’s some.
Author’s Note: For an actual good article about Hamilton go here