Monday, February 17, 2020

The Best Line from Every Hamilton Song, Act 2

Here are the best lines from every song in Act 2 of Hamilton! (For Act 1, see here.)

“What’d I Miss”
Where have you been?
Uh, France?

Daveed Diggs is a master at line delivery. And a silly question from Madison deserves a silly answer from Jefferson. (For a defense of Jefferson's character, see here.)

“Cabinet Battle #1”
Hey, turn around, bend over, I’ll show you where my shoe fits.

It's fun to think that Lin-Manuel Miranda created the setup for this line ("Ooh, if the shoe fits, wear it") and this delicious payoff.

“Take a Break”
How cool is it to hear Renée Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo just squeal with delight like little girls.

“Say No to This”
I wish I could say that was the last time. I said that last time. It became a pastime.
I would have chosen Hamilton's almost-curse. But maybe that wasn't appropriate for this blog. Instead, we're going with this tight rhyme.

“The Room Where It Happens”
Talk less. Smile more.
This is one of Burr's first lines, and sets up his character so perfectly. It's enjoyable hearing Hamilton make fun of Burr for it. (For a defense of Burr's character, see here.)

“Schuyler Defeated”
They don’t need to know me. They don’t like you.
I have heard this same sentiment said many times in our current political climate. Heck, I've even heard this said during the Super Bowl. "I don't care who wins, as long as it's not the Patriots!"

“Cabinet Battle #2”
“Should we honor our treaty, King Louis’s head?”
“Uh, do whatever you want, I’m super dead.”
This line is funny, plain and simple. But to see Miranda perform it, while imitating the severed head of King Louis? That's comic genius.

“Washington on Your Side”
I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit in watching him grabbin’ at power and kissin' it. If Washington isn’t gon’ listen to disciplined dissidents, this is the difference: This kid is out!
These are some tight internal rhymes. But it's also just another chance for Daveed Diggs to shine, and to show off his unmatched rap skills.

“One Last Time”
I’m stepping down. I’m not running for President.
I’m sorry, what?
Hamilton's shock and surprise is palpable.

“I Know Him”
<crazy laugh>
I would have gone with the King George's "This will be fun" line, but I thought better of encouraging him to use the Lord's name in vain. Instead we are going with this crazy laugh, hinting at King George's eventual demise into insanity. Clever.

“The Adams Administration”
Protean creator of the Coast Guard. Founder of the New York Post.
Inside Lin-Manuel Miranda's mind while writing: "I have all these great facts and pieces of trivia about Hamilton. How can I include them? Oh, maybe I'll just throw something random in here and there..."

“We Know”
Ya best g'wan run back where ya come from!
The better line is probably when Jefferson cuts off Reynolds's letter (to protect young ears, right?), but we will go with this awesome Caribbean-flavored line, reminding us that Hamilton is an immigrant from the Caribbean and was never really fully accepted as a citizen of the country he helped build. Sounds familiar.

I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance.
This line simultaneously shows Hamilton as "a lot smarter ... a self-starter", as well as his incredible hubris. Plus, it's just well delivered.

“The Reynolds Pamphlet”
I’m not here for you.
Ouch! Want some ice for that burn? Ooh, speaking of burns...

How they perceive you. You! You! You!
This is an amazing song. And Phillipa Soo's frustrated anger as she points out Hamilton's self-centeredness is heartbreaking.

“Blow Us All Away”
Everything is legal in New Jersey...
This is the second time New Jersey is the butt of the joke. And as a New Jersey native, I love it!

“Stay Alive (Reprise)”
Is he breathing? Is he going to survive this? Who did this, Alexander, did you know?
A mother's desperation. Gut-wrenching.

“It’s Quiet Uptown”
She takes his hand. It's quiet uptown.
The lyrics aren't anything special. The delivery is excellent. But the truly powerful part of this is the very act of forgiveness, the small gestures we take to forgive others, like simply taking somebody's hand. And if you're watching the show and not crying like a baby, what is wrong with you?!

“The Election of 1800”
Can we get back to politics? Please?!
After the one-two emotional punch of Phillip's death and the Hamiltons' reconciliation, this is a welcome comedic moment. And who would have thought that politics would be a much needed break?

“Your Obedient Servant”
Here’s an itemized list of thirty years of disagreements.
I edited out Burr's next line, but his reaction to Hamilton's detailed exhaustiveness is relatable.

“Best of Wives and Best of Women”
Hey. Best of wives and best of women.
How sweet. And how sad.

“The World Was Wide Enough”
This man will not make an orphan of my daughter.
This is an orphan determined to not let another orphan turn his daughter into an orphan. And Odom's delivery is perfectly tear-jerking.

“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”
Oh. Can I show you what I’m proudest of? (The orphanage!) I established the first private orphanage in New York City. (The orphanage!)
Why does this hit so close to home? We are reminded many times of Hamilton's status as an orphan. References to him growing up without parents are sprinkled throughout the entire show. Burr, too. So we have an emotional connection to Hamilton as an orphan, but it has been created subtly throughout the entire show. So when Eliza says that she is most proud of the orphanage (which yes, still exists today), it really hits us in all the feels.

For the best lines from Act 1, see here.

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