I was skeptical. The hype surrounding Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway sensation seemed too good to be believed. But once I bought the original cast recording, I was convinced.
And hopelessly obsessed.
This Friday I saw the Chicago production of Hamilton for the second time, and unlike most other entertainments, this one was even better the second time.
So now I’ve predictably been back to bingeing on that original cast recording — specifically, my favorite exercise playlist. You see, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve probably run several hundred miles over the last couple of years to this: Only the fast-paced cuts on the album.
I Call This Playlist “Hamercise”
Selecting the songs wouldn’t be tough for you to do on your own, but why bother? Here you go. If this helps you get fired up for a good workout, it’s my pleasure.
Oh, and if you’ve reviewed my playlist, you may wonder: Why did I include the very last song, which is decidedly not fast-paced? In fact, its terribly moving and sad.
Well, after a good cardio workout, it’s a well-known fact that shedding a few tears helps complete the healthy draining of toxins that perspiration only partially accomplishes. #JustMadeThatUp #TotalRubbish
It’s been a tough Presidential election season to get through. Especially if you’re like me, and you started following the proceedings early. I watched Biden decide not to run. And I witnessed sixteen GOP candidates get picked off, by one-by-one, by Trump, and in the process, watched the entire process debased to a level I couldn’t have imagined possible a year ago. Deeply depressing.
The key to my survival has been a handful of intelligent, well-informed, often extremely funny podcasts. I’ll list them for you now. Especially since, with the exception of this first one, they should all continue to reward listening once all of the votes are cast and Washington gridlock resumes in earnest.
Like several of in my list, this is produced by Slate. Host Jacob Weisberg talks all things Trump, as a way to help us all get through this national and international fever dream. Weisberg hasn’t released an episode in a while, but he vowed to continue releasing them until the scourge has passed. Let’s hope that’s November 9, when all election results are tallied.
This podcast, now with a book by the same name, is by national journalism treasure John Dickerson. When he’s not writing for Slate or performing his new duties as host of Sunday’s Face the Nation, Dickerson is an engaging presidential election historian. His stories help us understand the reasons for some of our election traditions, and they remind us that things have been this loopy before in American history — although perhaps not since the days of John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
Speaking of Hamilton, of course you knew I would mention that musical of the same name, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who until recently was also its star on the Broadway stage. Like Whistlestop, Pod4Ham scratches the itch for a broader election politics perspective, as it dissects the musical’s songs, one at a time, using as its basis the brilliant original cast recording.
True, it’s only for Hamilton fanatics like myself. That is, it’s for the sort of fanatic who gets excited about visiting Weehawken, New Jersey, because it’s the site of Hamilton’s fatal duel with Aaron Burr:
A little more accessible than Pod4Ham is Miranda’s recent appearance on SNL, which aired just one day after the recording was released about Trump bragging to Billy Bush, on a television series motor home, about him kissing and groping women without their consent. The comedy is priceless, and it also shows Lin-Manuel’s mastery of lyrics:
Vox’s The Weeds
The wonderful Ezra Klein leads a panel discussing the latest in politics. This episode followed the final debate, and is true to its title. It truly gets into the weeds of issues, including Presidential election politics.
What podcasts have gotten you through this punishing chapter in election politics? I would invite you to leave a comment, but as you probably know, trolls love to flood blog comments. Best to suggest something to me here (until trolls spoil the party there as well).