Last year was a fun time to be a theatre fan, particularly if you were a fan of the massive hit, Hamilton. This was because Broadway’s beloved Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is quite non-stop himself, kept at it with monthly Hamildrops—some new song or cover for the Hamilton universe. Today, I’m going to rank all of them (as found on the official site) based on nothing other than my own personal opinion. Let’s go!
Found/Tonight - Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt
After The Greatest Showman came out, my mother had a realization. Her realization was that she didn’t really like Lin-Manuel Miranda OR Pasek and Paul, but that who she really liked was none other than Alex Lacamoire. I personally think I actually do like Lin-Manuel Miranda. And while I have my issues with Pasek and Paul’s lyrical style, I do think they know how to compose a great song. But, I also love everything Lacamoire puts his hands on. Well. Almost everything. I found this mashup to be quite disappointing. I don’t think the songs go together that well, and it really left me feeling like mayonnaise tastes.
A Forgotten Spot - Olvidado
One of my greatest shames is that I lived in a place that was 87% Hispanic, and I can count the Spanish words I know on one hand. I am the very definition of a gringa. And so while this is a song with a beat I like, I can’t rank it any higher because I only understood the word “death” midway through. The rest of it is a complete mystery to me. But I like the music!
Boom Goes The Cannon - Mobb Deep
While I like the beat on this and it’s very artfully put together, the reason it’s not higher is that I quite like the arrangement of Washington’s act one parts, and I don’t really like the changes they made for this Hamildrop very much. I mean, it’s beautifully put together, I just prefer the original.
Burn - Andra Day
Please don’t interpret my failure to put this closer to the top of the list as an indicator that I didn’t like it, because I like it just fine! I just didn’t find this cover to be anything special, or to give a new layer of meaning or understanding to the song as it appears in the show.
Theodosia Reprise - Sara Bareilles
I’m a big fan of Sara Bareilles and everything she does, including this Hamildrop of a cut song from Hamilton, the reprise of Dear Theodosia. However, it is short and doesn’t add as much to my understanding of the show as some other Hamildrops do, so it ends up back here on the list.
Wrote My Way Out Remix - Hamilton (featuring Royce Da 5'9", Joyner Lucas, Black Thought, Aloe Blacc)
Being a white girl from Washington, I don’t have a lot of experience with rap. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because I’m in awe of the art form, just that I don’t know very much about it. The names of these artists are not familiar to me, though I did quite enjoy listening to this one, and I may have to look them up more!
Helpless - The Regrettes
I’ve actually never heard of The Regrettes before now, but they seem to be a really cool girl band in the vein of The Go-Go’s, which I am all for! Their version of Helpless doesn’t really add anything to the song, but it’s pretty and I enjoyed listening to it!
Rise Up, Wise Up, Eyes Up - Ibeyi
Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz (the duo that makes up Ibeyi), have such kind and sweet voices, and I really enjoyed listening to their remix of some of the most meaningful and beautiful lyrics in the entire show. I didn’t listen to it when it first came out, and that is something I quite regret as it is such a gorgeous rendition, and I was really missing out!
Ben Franklin’s Song - The Decemberists
I’ve only heard a few songs by The Decemberists in the past, but I’ve never heard one I didn’t like, and this is no exception. Benjamin Franklin is one of the founding fathers that I know the least about, but this makes me want to learn more about him since it’s a brief biography set to a catchy tune that just makes me want to dance!
One Last Time - Christopher Jackson, Barack Obama, and Bebe Winans
I know, I know, putting this one in fourth place is heresy! And it’s not that I don’t love President Obama or One Last Time. This was just a very hard list to compile, and I really, really love 1-3 so much. I also love this rendition of One Last Time so much, so it does pain me that it ends up as an honorable mention.
Cheering For Me Now - John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda
My therapist says that people have places. Most people’s places are where they’re from, but some people’s place is somewhere else entirely, and when you go to that place, even when it’s for the first time, it feels like coming home. That’s how I feel about New York City. When I first heard this one, it had been some time since I had been to the City, but I found myself weeping while I was watching it, because it reminded me of what feels like home, and I love every second of it.
First Burn - Ari Afsar, Julia Harriman, Lexi Lawson, Rachelle Ann Go, and Shoba Narayan
It’s a very poorly kept secret that my favorite character in Hamilton is Eliza (and not just because I’m also a big Comet fan and Natashas keep going on to play Eliza, though that doesn’t hurt!). I also love first drafts, and this is not only the first draft of my favorite number from the show, but it also features five women that I adore belting their faces off, so it’s definitely a treat. When I told my mom I was doing this article, she mentioned how much she loved it, so it is also Mama Norman approved.
The Hamilton Polka - “Weird Al” Yankovic
I’ve loved Weird Al for, well, really my entire life! Everyone in my family has always been a fan, and one of my fondest memories was when we all went to the state fair to see him perform. As a result, when I heard he was doing a Ham Drop, I couldn’t have been more excited, and he did not disappoint! This is actually the first Ham Drop that I bought, and it is and always will be my favorite. Every moment of it is flawless, and there isn’t a single thing I would change about it if I could.
So that’s my list! What do you think? How would you rank them?
(Image from the Hamildrops site)