Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda knows a thing or two about spreading everyday joy. The almost-EGOT winner (he was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award for Best Original Song, but no dice) greets his two million Twitter followers every morning with Tweets like these, like love notes your mom used to pack in your lunchbox:
Last December, he gave Hamilton fans the greatest gift of all: he dropped the Hamilton Mixtape, a 23-track (!) album featuring all of the songs in the musical performed by some of hip hop and R&B’s most iconic talents. Ashanti and Ja Rule crooned to “Helpless” (originally sung by Phillipa Soo as Eliza Schuyler), Busta Rhymes joined hip hop group The Roots in “My Shot” (originally performed by Miranda as Alexander Hamilton), and John Legend lent his soulful voice to “History Has Its Eyes on You” (originally sung by an ensemble cast). The album debuted at the top spot on the Billboard 200, becoming the first compilation album at number once since Now 50 in 2014. Fans couldn’t get enough, and Miranda promised a second mixtape the following year.
The man kept his word. Sort of. (Why mess with perfection?) Today, Miranda dropped the first song of the new #HamilDrop—and it’s new, not a remix: “Ben Franklin’s Song” by indie rock band The Decemberists. Find it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, or YouTube. It’s a notable departure from the original songs of the Hamilton soundtrack—no rapping, no beat-boxing, no ’90s hip hop: just the baroque, folk-inspired crooning you expect from The Decemberists (and Ben Franklin, a man of the people and intellectual elitist, both at the same time).
According to Miranda, he had written lyrics for Ben Franklin, inspired by The Decemberists, but never finished them. Later, he decided to send them to Colin Meloy, the band’s frontman, who set the music for it, and helped Miranda polish the lyrics. There are two versions, explicit and clean. (“Benjamin Fuckin’ Franklin” just makes sense, no?)
And true to his ethos of sprinkling joy—and drama— into our everyday lives, Miranda announced on Twitter that he will release this new Hamilton content with a bit of a catch: pieces will be debuted each month, now through December 2018. Think of it as a yearlong advent calendar for adults. (Or kids too, if you listen to the clean versions.)