One Last Time (Hamilton song)

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"One Last Time"
Song by Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & the Cast of Hamilton
from the album Hamilton
Released2015
GenreShow tune
Length4:59
Songwriter(s)Lin-Manuel Miranda

"One Last Time" is a song from the second act of Hamilton. It was first performed on Broadway by Christopher Jackson, in the role of George Washington, with Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.

Synopsis and sources[edit]

The song portrays George Washington's decision not to run for re-election as President, thereby introducing America to the practice of a peaceful and orderly transition between administrations. He asks Hamilton to write his final address to the American people, discussing his philosophy of governance and the importance of knowing "how to say goodbye", and discusses his desire to retire and live the rest of his life outside public scrutiny. The song's second half includes an excerpt from the actual historical text of Washington's farewell address; Hamilton reads the address, as Washington sings the same words to a melody.

In addition to the Farewell Address, the song also quotes a verse of the Bible: "Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid" (Micah 4:4, 1 Kings 4:25 and 2 Kings 18:31). The historical Washington was fond of quoting this line in his correspondence.[1]

The segment in which Washington sings along as Hamilton reads the text of the Farewell Address was inspired by will.i.am's song "Yes We Can", in which performers sing along to a speech by Barack Obama.[2]

A fragment of this song is reprised in Hamilton's soliloquy in The World Was Wide Enough.

History[edit]

The cast of Hamilton performed this song for the Obama White House as they neared the end of their eight-year tenure, which would be transitioned to the Trump era. Obama led the room in a standing ovation.[3] Hamilton cast member Bryan Terrell Clark said "There's no way that any actor on that stage can say the words that we're saying and ignore the political climate that we're immersed in right now."[4] Mashable explains the point of the song: "No matter how many people chant "Four more years!"—he believes his duty is to be a citizen and exit gracefully."[5]

Style[edit]

The song has a "resonant gospel sound".[6] Different interpretations of the song have ranged from "forceful Gospel preacher" to "smooth R&B crooner".[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Vibe asserted that Washington "sings his heart out".[8] The Huffington Post thought that the drum beats in this song had a "Garageband-y" character, which contrasted with Jackson's impressive vocals.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vine and Fig Tree". George Washington's Mount Vernon.
  2. ^ Hayes, Chris. "'Hamilton': Lin-Manuel Miranda, Questlove, Black Thought on the Runaway Broadway Hit, Its Political Relevance and Super-Fan Barack Obama". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ "Watch 'Hamilton' Perform 'One Last Time' for President Obama". EW.com. January 11, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  4. ^ ""One Last Time": George Washington's goodbye from the musical Hamilton gains new meaning as Trump takes office". CBC Radio. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Khosla, Proma. "The 'Hamilton' cast performing 'One Last Time' at the White House will wreck you". Mashable. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Times, Lindsay Christians | The Capital. "Theater review: History has its eyes on Chicago's 'Hamilton,' where an exceptional cast digs deep". madison.com. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Ryan, Maureen (October 20, 2016). "Review: Broadway Smash 'Hamilton' Opens in Chicago". Variety. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  8. ^ "Going H.A.M.: A Track-By-Track Review Of The 'Hamilton' Soundtrack". Vibe. October 20, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Logan, Elizabeth (October 1, 2015). "I Have an Opinion on Every Song in "Hamilton"". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2017.