17 'Hamilton' Lyrics That Perfectly Explain 2016
Wow, guys — 2016 was a heck of a year. There was everything from a deeply heart-wrenching election to a bounty of on-point new albums (Hail Beyoncé, queen of our hearts and creator of Lemonade), to the numerous celebrity deaths that devastated fans. It's all a lot to take in, and so if you're trying to reflect on the last 12 months, look to another 2016 staple, the Tony award-winning Hamilton, to describe this often-painful, always interesting year.
Seriously, quotes from the constantly-booked-with-no-tickets-in-sight Hamilton really are perfect when it comes to describing the confusing and intense feelings that we all experienced about the ongoings of this past year. I have so many deep-seated emotions about the events of 2016, and I know I'm not alone. Thankfully, the beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking words penned by the one and only Lin Manuel-Miranda "get the job done" (get it?) when it comes to summing up 2016.
1."How Does A Ragtag Volunteer Army, In Need Of A Shower, Somehow Defeat A Global Superpower?"
Since April 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline being built in their native ancestral lands and potentially polluting their water supply. Until it was annonuced on Dec. 4 that the pipeline will reportedly not go through the reservation, it seemed like the odds were against the protestors, but they refused to back down from what they believed was right.
2. "You're On Your Own. Awesome. Wow! Do You Have A Clue What Happens Now?"
Without the artistic minds of Prince and David Bowie, two men who forever changed the depictions of sexuality and masculinity in pop culture, the world seems like a much lonelier place. While this Hamilton song is talking about the United States breaking free from England, I can't help but think of the stars we've lost this year.
3."I Practiced The Law, I Practically Perfected It"
Like Alexander Hamilton, Hilary Clinton worked her way up the political ladder to be a presidential nominee who won the popular vote but not the election, almost-but-not-quite shattering that highest of glass ceilings.
4. "Immigrants! We Get The Job Done"
There's been a lot of debate about immigration in 2016, and this Hamilton song is a reminder that America was founded by immigrants and continues to grow stronger because of them.
5. "These Are Wise Words, Enterprising Men Quote 'Em. Don't Act Surprised, You Guys, 'Cuz I Wrote 'Em!"
Guys, get ready. It's about to get real meta up in here. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton took Broadway and the entire world by storm in 2016. But no one should've been surprised by this because dude's been a rising star ever since he rocked Broadway with In The Heights in 2008 .
6. "Put A Pencil To His Temple Connected It To His Brain. And He Wrote HIs First Refrain, A Testament To His Pain"
7. "But We'll Never Be Truly Free Until Those In Bondage Have The Same Rights As You And Me"
In August, the Justice Department decided to end the use of for-profit private prisons because, as Deputy General Sally Yates put it, “They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security."
8. "We're Gonna Teach 'Em How To Say Goodbye"
As George Washington decided to leave the presidency after eight years, so must the hippest president of all time, Barack Obama. Sob.
9. “'We Hold These Truths To Be Self-evident That All Men Are Created Equal.' And When I Meet Thomas Jefferson, I'm 'A Compel Him To Include Women In The Sequel"
2016 was a huge year for reboots of some of our nostalgic favorites, and the best part is that so many of these reboots, from Ghostbusters to the upcoming Star Wars standalone, Rogue One, have female leads. Angelica Schuyler would be so pleased.
10. “I’m Past Patiently Waitin’. I’m Passionately Smashin’ Every Expectation. Every Action’s An Act Of Creation!"
After a lifetime of dominating intense movie role after intense movie role but never clinching that little golden man called Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio won himself an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Revenant. Yay Leo!
11. We’ll Fight Up Close, Seize The Moment And Stay In It”
It may not be a serious matter, but you can't deny that people got all up in Pokemon Go in 2016. So into it that, they would "stay in it" for hours, days, weeks at a time. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing a bunch of people glued to their phones hanging out with Pikachus.
12.“I Don’t Wanna Fight, But I Won’t Apologize For Doin’ What’s Right”
The Black Lives Matter movement has received plenty of criticism this year, but its members refuse to stand down and continue to fight for what they believe in, no apologies made.
13. "How To Account For His Rise To The Top? Man, The Man Is Non-Stop”
Just a few short years ago, Chance the Rapper was an indie rapper few had ever heard of. Now, he calls Beyoncé "auntie." That's a rise to the top if I've ever seen one.
14. "I Put Myself Back In The Narrative"
Andrew Jackson's being replaced on the 20 dollar bill by Harriet Tubman, and, like Eliza Hamilton, Tubman was a pretty badass lady deserving of recognition. It's exciting that she'll be back in the country's narrative in a big way — on our currency.
15. "When You’re Living On Your Knees, You Rise Up"
Colin Kaepernick has been "living on his knees" to the tune of protest. The football player famously refuses to stand for the National Anthem at the beginning of 49ers games, instead taking to his knees in protest. His actions have led to both plenty of support, and plenty of controversy.
16. "We Hear The Drinking Song They’re Singing. The World Turned Upside Down"
This song is speaking of the newly minted America's victory over Great Britain in the Revolutionary War but it also relates to a more recent development in the United Kingdom — "Brexit." It truly felt like the world had turned upside down when the UK voted to leave the European Union, a feeling that was mirrored by Trump's election as the next US president.
17. “America, You Great Unfinished Symphony, You Sent For Me"
Despite everything our country has been through, 2016 isn't the end. January will bring a new year, and a semi-fresh start.
And really, no matter what the next year brings, Hamilton (or at least the soundtrack and newly released mixtape) will be there to give us all some encouragement. 2017, "we're waiting in the wings for you," so don't let us down like 2016 did.