Oceans Rise. Empires Fall.

This was an enjoyable challenge but it was a challenge all the same.  As a regular sing-alonger I promised that I would push myself…and I did.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m in the midst of a serious obsession with the musical Hamilton.  At home, it’s been looping so much that Andrew can probably sing it in his sleep.  The rapid-fire lyrics and intricate rhymes can make many of the songs particularly tricky to sing accurately.  Of course, I’ve never been afraid to just make up a lyric or kind of la-la-la it through a song if I can’t figure out what they’re saying.  But since this was an official challenge I decided that la-la-la-ing wasn’t an option.  It took me awhile to decide which song to choose.  I love to sing almost all of them.  However, like I said, some are much harder than others.  I finally decided not on one song but two: “Helpless” and “Satisfied”, songs that are closely tied to each other.  To master them, I dedicated the time it took me to get ready for work everyday, my commute time (only 5 mins!), and my time on the treadmill.  Luckily, for anyone in ear-shot, my treadmill is in the garage so I can sing out loud during my workout, leaving the vocal quality even more compromised than usual.  I need to add here that the speed of the lyrics in these songs left me feeling more than a little out of shape.  These folks have some serious lung power.  Singing along, even when not mid-workout, I usually sound like I’ve just climbed a flight of stairs. To be honest, that’s one of the ways I chose the songs.  My choices aren’t as asthma-inducing, or honestly, as tongue-twisting.  Being able to read the elaborate lyrics made it easier to learn what I was actually saying.  Fortunately, I own the book HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION which has all of the lyrics and I had my own karaoke lounge every evening thanks to Amazon Music.


I realize one of the things that I love about this musical is that it is a celebration of history and a celebration of language, as well.    I remember having a discussion about music and lyrics with my friend, Damon, back during our high school days, and stating that I was more interested in the lyrics of a song than the music.  Now, keep in mind, we were probably 16-years-old during this conversation, so I’m sure it was deep and profound but it’s obviously stuck with me.  I actually think the best songs combine music and lyrics in a way that causes an emotional reaction, anything from sadness to joy.  Singing is like driving or reading, you can do it without thinking about it.  We’ve all driven somewhere on autopilot and then thought, “wow” I don’t remember getting from there to here.  Ever read aloud to a kid?  Next time you do really THINK about each word that you are reading.  It’s the magic that provides the connection between text and emotion.  The same is true for music.  The best singers are great not because of their voices but because they connect us to the emotion.

So, did you learn the words of a new favorite this week? Return to an old friend?  Songs are like smells, they can transport you to time and place.  They can be magical.  This blog has grown up listening to the music of Hamilton.  Every post has been written with those songs as soundtrack.  They will always be connected for me.  Maybe you’ll return to this shared time and place everytime you hear the song you tackled this week.

Before you go…the title of this post comes from lines in the songs in Hamilton sung by King George. They are belting lines.  The kind you sing at the top of your voice.  Every time I sing them they bring me joy!

9 thoughts on “Oceans Rise. Empires Fall.

  1. Val – two things came to mind as I read your blog…it struck a cord (no pun intended) my husband is a HUGE Beetles fan well he’s a HUGE music fan in general (In a different way than I am)…I love the lyrics too…because it carries a meaning for the artist. It in return inspires us…reminds us of moments in our own lives…makes us nostalgic…causes us to see things differently…My girls have caught the Hamilton fever and I’ve even learned some of the almost rap like lyrics myself! You cracked me up about being winded omg…for real I’m there. My girls are inspired by the message Hamilton stands for. It’s appropriate maybe now more than ever… in the world today. I’m in the process of learning a new song – and will follow up in a day or two – you know me I take the full 7 days to finish my challenge. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, so, so…So this is what it feels like to match wits….

    I’m one of those people who almost always has a song running around in my brain at ALL hours of the day and night (my sleepless nights are usually accompanied by one line of some song I’ve heard during the day that just loops over and over and over) and really can’t imagine my life without music.

    I like many genres so I can choose one to fit my mood, but I think the reason I’m not too crazy about rap is because I can’t sing along to it, and speaking the lyrics just isn’t the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well I finished the challenge…I had heard a girl named Ella Mae Brown sing a different rendition of “I Need A Hero” it is insanely good…it will blow you away. Then my husband and I are watching the Leftovers series on HBO and a group called Lo-Fang sing a Grease (You’re The One That I Want) song differently. Crazy awesome. So I challenged myself to learn one of these songs the different way. I actually like them both now better.,I highly recommend you to listen to these two songs from the artists I listed…absolutely beautiful…I enjoyed this challenge – my husband is a huge music buff – seriously. I’m always hearing about new groups ect. Great challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my favorite quotes…..”With the right music, you either forget everything or you remember everything.” Nice job on the post Val! I’m proud of you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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