Just as a heads up, this is going to be a reeeeeally long post. So prepare yourselves. If you don’t like reading long posts, you probably won’t like this. But we had so much fun with it!! It’s also all about the musical Hamilton. If you don’t know what that is, you will by the end. Pamela and I are huge fans of the musical! We joked about doing a collab post together, and this was the first subject that came to mind. We decided to each select our favourite lyrics and talk about what we liked about it. Pamela took Act 1, I took Act 2. Like I said, we’re both huge fans, and can ramble a lot about things. Combine both of these, and I have no idea how many words this will be altogether!
Here are my favourite lyrics from Act II.
Say No to This
This song is about the affair between Hamilton and Maria, and the subsequent blackmail and extortion by her husband to Hamilton.
There’s nothing like summer in the city/ Someone under stress meets someone looking pretty
There’s trouble in the air, you can smell it/ Alexander’s by himself, I’ll let him tell it.
There’s just something about this line that makes me feel tingly, if that’s weird to say. But you can tell that something is about to go down, and just the line “someone under stress meets someone looking pretty”, you know someone is about to f*** up. A weird reason to have this as a favourite line, but this whole song is just so catchy.
The Room Where it Happens
This is where Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson get together for a dinner to organize the next steps in America’s future. About where the capital will be, and about approving Hamilton’s financial plan. It’s sung mostly by Burr who’s frustrated that he’s not in the ‘room where it happened’.
No one really knows how the game is played/ The art of the trade/ How the sausage gets made
We just assume that it happens/ But no one else is in the room where it happens
I like this one cause it makes me think. I don’t really know how a lot of laws, etc happen. We just assume that they happen, and someone’s in control of it, but how do you really know how it really goes on, unless you’re in there. You know? It’s interesting food for thought.
Washington On Your Side
Jefferson, Madison and Burr are basically just smack talking Hamilton and annoyed that Washington always seems to has his back no matter what.
I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit in/ Watching him grabbing at power and kissing it
If Washington isn’t gon’ listen/ To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference: This kid is out!
Just the tongue twisting nature of this line is so much fun! Even just trying to speak it is hard, and Daveed Diggs (who plays Jefferson) raps it so fast and so well. It just flows off his tongue, and I love listening to that bit.
One Last Time
Washington tells Hamilton that he’s stepping down and retiring as President.
[HAMILTON] Why do you have to say goodbye?
[WASHINGTON] If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on/It outlives me when I’m gone
This whole song is sung beautifully, by the amazing Chris Jackson. I love his voice. But this line in particular sticks to me. Washington seems like a cool dude. He’s been working for his country for so long, been president for 8 years, and he decides, that’s enough. I want to retire and stay home. Change is good! Or it should be anyway, if the people he left behind could agree on anything.
My favourite song sung by Hamilton in this act. He makes the (silly) decision to write the Reynolds Pamphlet, airing out the affair, but making sure everyone knows he didn’t misuse government funds.
I wrote my way out of hell/I wrote my way to revolution
I was louder than the crack in the bell
I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell/ I wrote about The Constitution and defended it well
And in the face of ignorance and resistance/ I wrote financial systems into existence
And when my prayers to God were met with indifference
I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance
This whole verse is so Hamilton. He is in charge of his own destiny, he knows what his writing is capable of, how it’s helped him so far. His whole life, when things went wrong, he was able to write his way out. It makes sense that he’ll try use his writing to help him now, when he’s being accused of misusing the government’s money. Plus in the song, everything is just building and it gives me chills!
Eliza’s response to the Reynolds Pamphlet
You and your words, obsessed with your legacy
Your sentences border on senseless
And you are paranoid in every paragraph
How they perceive you
You, you, you…
Poor Eliza. She finds out about the affair the same way as everyone else. From the pamphlet Hamilton published. This whole song is her response to finding out about his betrayal, and basically it’s full of anger and heartbreak. I like the above section cause it does really show that Hamilton was only thinking about how to defend himself and his honour, and not about how it would affect Eliza and their family.
It’s Quiet Uptown
Major spoilers. Eliza and Alexander’s son Philip dies in a duel. This is the song immediately after it happens.
There are moments that the words don’t reach/ There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can/ And push away the unimaginable
The moments when you’re in so deep/ It feels easier to just swim down
The Hamiltons move uptown/ And try to live with the unimaginable
Angelica sings the opening, and it’s just so heartbreaking! It’s all about grief and loss. My favourite lines a lot of the time are on how much they make me feel things. This one is up there.
The World was Wide Enough
The final showdown between Hamilton and Burr.
Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me
So this bit is just cool. After Burr fires, the music just stops and there’s silence. Then Hamilton is just talking, like he’s thinking this thoughts aloud before he dies, and he finally questions why he’s been so obsessed with legacy. He spends the whole musical charging ahead, not thinking of consequences, until the very end.
One more from this song:
In every picture it paints/ It paints me and all my mistakes
When Alexander aimed at the sky/He may have been the first one to die
But I’m the one who paid for it
I survived, but I paid for it
I feel so bad for Burr at this point. He spends the whole musical thinking, weighing options, holding back and ‘waiting for it’, then right at the end, he makes an impulse decision that ends horribly. He takes a life, and is forever remembered as ‘the villain’. Both Hamilton and Burr act different in this final battle. Hamilton finally decides to ‘wait’, and Burr just acts without thinking it through.
I’ll end it there, cause this is getting long! But that’s just a few of my favourite Hamilton lyrics. I didn’t mean to start analysing them so much, but this whole musical is just so amazing, and the songs are insanely well done! I recommend you guys give it a listen if you have time. I just decided to sit down one day and listen to the whole soundtrack and I was so sucked into it!! One day, I will see it in person!! I hope!
As a random end note, I saw a comment somewhere on one of the songs that said Act 1 could be summed up as “F*** yeah, Hamilton!”, and Act 2 is more “Yeah, F*** Hamilton!”, it just made me laugh.
Be sure to check out Pamela’s posts about her favourite lyrics from the first Act of Hamilton too!
What’s your favourite lyric from Hamilton? Or from another musical?