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Josh Enjoys Song Exploder’s Spotlight on Lin-Manuel Miranda and “Wait for It”

Song Exploder, created by Hrishikesh Hirway, began as a podcast.  Each episode focuses on the development of a specific song/piece of music.  It’s now also become a half-hour TV show on Netflix.  The first batch of four episodes launched in September.  The next four arrive in December.  So far I’ve only seen one episode, an exploration of the Burr’s show-stopping song “Wait For It” from Hamilton.  But that one episode was so good I wanted to post about it!

The spine of the episode is a conversation between Mr. Hirway and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alex Lacamoire (who was the Music Director, Orchestrator, and Conductor for Hamilton).  There’s also an extensive interview with Thomas Kail, who directed Hamilton.

As the episode unfolds, we hear the three men chart the development of that specific song.  They discuss the development of the lyrics and the music.  Mr. Hirway goes carefully through the song, selecting specific elements to discuss with Mr. Miranda & co., allowing them to share details on how the many pieces of the song came together.  The conversation feels intimate, and it’s packed full of all sorts of incredible details and asides.  There was a lot of musical jargon that went way over my head but that I suspect musicians will eat up.  (And none of that prevented me from enjoying the conversation.)

The show utilizes some simple but fun animation to accompany the audio recordings that are utilized throughout the episode.  It’s a clever way to bring some visual life to what could have been boring moments of people just listening to music.

My favorite moment in the episode comes after Mr. Miranda describes the subway ride to a friend’s party, on which he first came up with some key elements of the song.  Walking around on the street, he recorded a voice memo to himself with the music that had just come into his head.  The episode then allows us to actually hear that recording!  It’s wild.

For all the music lovers out there, I suspect there’s a lot in this series for you to enjoy!  Check it out.

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