"I Don't Get It," or How I Got Fired From Pajiba
It’s been a long and lonely year. I’ve had to come to accept myself as a Pajiba Pariah because of a dirty secret. I’ve decided that since the year is coming to a close, I need to unburden myself of some emotional weight. So without fanfare or trumpets or horns, here it is:
I don’t get Hamilton.
Let me be demonstrable about this before my life gets threatened and y’all start condemning me to a life of solitude: I get Alexander Hamilton and his rise and demise on which the musical is based. If you’re going to school me from the historical aspect of it, please don’t. I’m lazy and lack the patience. Besides, everything I need to know about Hamilton I learned from the 90’s Got Milk commercial.
If you do, know that I’ve had 6 shots of espresso and can go like Lionel Richie.
Look, I love the excitement for which you Hamilfans/Hamily/Hamiltonians have an unbridled passion and joy for this musical. I also know that it’s largely due to the unbelievable writing of one charming Lin-Manual Miranda and the ridiculous talent within the cast itself. That’s not where my issue lies. It’s much simpler than that: the music just isn’t good. Please don’t grab your pitchforks yet, guys. Allow me to explain myself. To understand my avoidance of this musical the same way I’ve avoided Eddie Redmayne’s movies, I need to start at the beginning.
Hamilton became a goddamned juggernaut seemingly overnight. One variable that contributed to my general indifference to Hamilton is easy to pinpoint: the more people clamor over how much I have to see/hear/taste/smell/touch something, the more I get turned off. The same can be said for my hatred of onions, chocolate and The Wire. And when 60 percent of your Facebook feed, over an extended amount of time, is a Hamilton love fest, it gets exhausting. That’s not to say I’m annoyed by it all, because I’m not. All you die-hard fans are no joke. I delight in seeing the passion of which you have come to appreciate the musical. It’s just that it’s too much for my one-track mind.
Another variable is the basic music, foregoing the aforementioned genius lyrics. The music sounds like someone hit the “demo” button on a Casio keyboard and threw some sweet drum machine beats over it. In contrast, the Hamilton Mixtape is about a thousand times more pleasing to me. I can understand the hype over that, because it’s fucking superb. WHY COULDN’T THE MUSICAL BE LIKE THAT?! The original Broadway music is ghastly, guys. I get that it has to have a theatrical appeal to it, but I’ll take the remixed versions any damned day.
That brings me to the cast. By and large, they’re ridiculously talented, deliver performances that are otherworldly, and have voices that are nearly god-like. Save for one. And my disdain for this person’s voice is likely to end several friendships and for that, I’m sorry. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a delightful man angel, but I can’t get past his voice. I can’t enjoy the original soundtrack and the lyrics because LMM’s voice is akin to cardboard or styrofoam rubbing together for me. Try as I might, (and boy, have I tried) his voice just takes me out of the element. I’ve tried several time over the last year to give Hamilton a go, thinking, “maybe today will be the day I’ll like it. Maybe this time, I’ll stay.”
Nah. Don’t get me wrong, the Mixtape definitely made me enjoy it for a hot second, but not enough to convert me into even a fair-weathered fan. No amount of “Hey Bekka, but you should check this out” will ever convince me that I’m missing out. I’ve come to accept that Hamilton will never be for me, which means more for you guys, I guess. I know I’m not the only one. I see you. I feel your pain. We don’t have to be afraid anymore. I’m throwing myself on the grenade here for you guys. There are dozens of us.