These Eight Hamilton Demos Were Just Released, and We Can’t Stop Listening

Are they great? No. Are they canon? Yes
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In our world, there are 334 days until Christmas. In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s world, Christmas was on January 20, which will heretofore be known as Hamildemo Day.

Last Friday, Miranda dropped eight rough cuts of songs from Hamilton on Twitter, each of which feature him as the sole performer. It’s not the first time we’ve heard early versions of songs from the musical. The Hamilton Mixtape features two (Cabinet Battle #3, which never even saw the bright lights of Broadway, and a song called “Valley Forge,” which became what we all know today as “Stay Alive”); Beyond that, some hero managed to film Miranda spouting a rap about John Adams that was ultimately cut from the show (although one line made it into “The Adams Administration:” “Sit down, John, you fat mother…”). But this is the first time we’ve gotten so many drafts in one go.

All of the tracks feature Lin-Manuel and only Lin-Manuel, which means he’s performing the parts of all the characters at once: He seduces himself on “Say No To This,” ticks off 20 years worth of grievances with himself on “Your Obedient Servant,” and convinces himself to be his own right hand man on “Right Hand Man.” I don’t know why you would have ever wondered this, but if you’ve ever wondered what Hamilton would be like if Gollum/Smeagol were the only character in the show, this is as close as you’ll get. (Somebody get on that mashup ASAP.)

What’s most interesting about these demos, though, is that you can actually hear Miranda’s creative process. They’re a small peek into his pony-tailed head as he formulated the songs that would become one of the most transformative pieces of musical theater in history. Are the recordings good? Not particularly, but what demo is? (Like, besides Violet’s in Coyote Ugly?) It doesn’t make them any less genius from a process standpoint.

We’ve still got a ways to go until Hamilton arrives at the Pantages in August, but between the news that demigod Joshua Henry will be our Aaron Burr, intermittent Hamilton Sing Alongs, and Hamildemo Day, at least we have something to tide us over. Listen to all eight below:


 

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