If you thought the “Hamilton” fever was over well, guess again.
Recently, I started listening to “The Hamilton Mixtape” which gives listeners a different view on the popular Broadway musical.
The album, also released with the original Broadway cast album, has numerous artists doing covers of musical numbers. Notable artists include: Sia, Kelly Clarkson, The Roots and Usher.
The album also introduces listeners to songs that were cut out of the Broadway version of “Hamilton.”
Usher’s rendition of “Wait For It” will surprise listeners. The song, made famous by Leslie Odom Jr. with little to no electronics, incorporates an 808 drumbeat, an electronic drum kit from a computer program, into the song. To fill the hole of the numerous singers, Usher harmonizes over himself by mixing numerous recordings of himself singing at the same time.
While this is a completely different interpretation of the song, I do think this is a unique approach. Usher is known for using a lot of electronics during his songs. “Wait For It” is telling the audience about Aaron Burr’s feelings on his girlfriend he is seeing. Usher takes a more relaxed approach to the song, unlike the Broadway version which incorporates the emotions that Burr is feeling from the lighting and effects around the stage.
The neat thing about the album is that some songs go right into the next song. I am a big fan of this type of music because it gives the audience a feel for what it’s like seeing the show live.
“Wait For It” transitions into “An Open Letter” by Watsky. This song was cut from the Broadway production due to time restraints. During this song, Watsky raps about how Hamilton is angry with John Adams and his way of governing the U.S. When Watsky says, “Say hi to the Jefferson’s,” I felt as if he was trying to portray to the listeners that Hamilton is sarcastically saying “hi” to his rival, Thomas Jefferson. We hear a portion of this song in the Broadway musical during the song “The Adams Administration.” In the musical, Hamilton drops a book off the second story of the stage to reference his frustration. While this song is explicit, the theatrical production does censor the explicit words during that portion.
Sia’s rendition of “Satisfied” gives Renee Elise Goldsberry a run for her money. Sia, known for pop hits like “Chandelier” and “Cheap Thrills,” takes the song and bends it to fit her style of music. Once again, introducing an 808 drum beat and bringing on famous icon Queen Latifah to sing the rap portion of the song. In my opinion, I think while this is a neat version of the song, I prefer the original version. In my opinion, Sia is good for only singing up in the higher register and holding out notes for a long time. Sia also has a specific approach to her voice while singing and I do not think it fits the musical line.
“Satisfied” is about the perspective of Angelica Schuyler during her sister, Eliza’s wedding. Schuyler goes on to talk about her missing her shot with Hamilton and regretting introducing Hamilton to Eliza.