Banner Image: Joan Marcus
by Brookelynn Mason
The whole world is all kinds of fucked up over the newest #Hamildrop, “First Burn”. Twitter is blowing up, Facebook's on fire, and Instagrammers can’t decide how many hashtags to use to accurately describe the world we live in now. If you’re as completely SHOOK as I am, don’t fret—we’re going to break this down and go on this journey together. Listen to the track here while you read along...or listen as you watch the behind-the-scenes video below.
A little background info: “First Burn” is the first draft of the song “Burn” from Hamilton, as sung by Arianna Afsar, Julia Harriman, Lexi Lawson, Rachelle Ann Go, and Shoba Narayan. Yep, an alumni of Elizas past and present. Oh, and let’s take a moment to gush about the absolute genius of Alex Lacamoire, because it needs to be mentioned that these women weren’t in the same room (where it happened) together recording this piece of magic. Yeah, nbd, Lac gonna Lac, all day err' day. Five different Elizas, all portraying the kaleidoscope of emotions Eliza goes through during this moment, in one badass track? Abso-fuckin'-lutely.
Let’s break it down. Eliza comes out SWINGING, wasting no time to put Alex in his place with “Don’t take another step in my direction”. It’s the beginning of a motif that runs throughout the whole song, which is written in such a way that we can imagine Eliza interrupting Hamilton’s words and actions while he tries to make excuses for himself. It changes the story—instead of a silent decision to rid herself of his written word, she confronts him face to face and DESTROYS HIM. This whole stanza totally fucks you up in the best way:
Heaven forbid someone whisper
"He's part of some scheme"
Your enemy whispers
So you have to scream
I know about whispers
I see how you look at my sister
So here we have an Eliza consumed with fury, just totally wrecking Alex with everything she can possibly throw at him. “Fuck it, here are all the ways in which you are an absolute shit human being” should be the subtitle of this song. She’s not just burning his letters; she’s setting the whole world on fire and then walking away with her middle finger in the air. Just when you think she’s roasted Alex to a charred-black shell of a man, she even muhfuggin' takes it a step further:
And when the time comes
Explain to the children
The pain and embarrassment
You put their mother through
When will you learn
That they are your legacy?
We are your legacy
You tell him, Eliza!
Want more of “First Burn”? The most recent episode of The Hamilcast has commentary and an EXCLUSIVE listen at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original demo, that you cannot find anywhere else except the podcast. Listen here!
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