‘Wait For It’
One of the things I love about musical cast recordings is that they’ve remained more or less a bastion of wide dynamic range in the face of the wider music industry’s loudness war. And it stands to reason, partly because a musical has to create momentum over a much longer duration, so needs a wider expressive range to work with. But I’m guessing that the audience for stage musicals also tend to listen less casually by nature, because they’re captivated by the long-term narrative arc, so there’s less need for loudness as a competitive feature — listeners are, I’d imagine, more likely to skip between their favourite tracks within the Hamilton album than they are to shuffle a playlist lining up those against regular chart tracks.
The song ‘Wait For It’ is apparently a favourite of the show’s writer and lead performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, so it’s as good a place as any to hear the benefits of this dynamic range. When the drums first pound their way in at 1:31, for instance, the sheer level and sense of punch delivers a...
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