Helpless (Hamilton song)

Song by Phillipa Soo & the Cast of Hamilton from the album Hamilton
Released 2015
Length 4:10
Writer(s) Lin-Manuel Miranda
Composer(s) Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lyricist(s) Lin-Manuel Miranda
Language English
Hamilton track listing

"A Winter's Ball"

"Helpless" is the tenth song from Act 1 of the 2015 musical Hamilton. It was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.


This song focuses on the romance of Eliza Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.


Huffington Post described the song as "equal parts Cole Porter and Ja Rule, a sweet Pop/R&B tune".[1] Phillipa Soo said that inspirations for the song include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Etta James.[2] Musical director Alex Lacamoire explained "The Beyoncé reference is 'Stressin'! Blessin'!' sounds like 'Houston rocket!' [in "Countdown"]. We asked the girls to deliver it like that."[3] Slate said the "big R&B love song" drew inspiration from Beyoncé’s “Countdown” due to its "half-rapped, half-sung cadences", and added that the lyrics "the boy is mine” is a lyrical reference to a song of the same name by Brandy and Monica.[4] According to NPR, the song also includes a hip hop reference in the form of a lyrical nod to Trina and Mannie Fresh's song "Da Club."[5] GCAdvocate notes that in "Satisfied," Eliza's "assertive, clever sister Angelica Schuyler raps and remixes “Helpless".[6] The LA Times said the song had "the flair of Destiny's Child".[7] The Man Eater also likens Eliza's vocal stylings to "the style of Beyoncé".[8]

Critical reception

The Huffington Post wrote that the song "manages to combine banter, storytelling, and Alexander mentioning again how smart he is".[1] GCAdvocate was impressed that "Soo’s repetitive 'I do'’s in the pop song foreshadows their wedding" which occurs at the end of the song.[6] The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "'Helpless' measures up to the most irresistible pop songs about love at first sight in the way it captures the sheer giddiness and joy of a romantic thunderbolt".[9] The Washington Post said the song was "a divinely refined girl-group treatment of Hamilton’s courtship of Eliza".[10] The American Conservative said the song is "a gorgeous song where helplessness is a child’s terror but also a lover’s rapture".[11]

Hamilton Mixtape version

"Helpless" is performed on The Hamilton Mixtape by Ashanti and Ja Rule, both of whom Miranda sites as inspirations for the composition of the song.

“Ashanti and Ja Rule were in my head when I was writing ‘Helpless,’" Miranda told Entertainment Weekly. “It has the structure of an Ashanti-Ja Rule song: two verses, two choruses, a guest rap feature, then back to the chorus and around.”

Of getting Ashanti and Ja Rule to perform the song for the mixtape, producer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson told the magazine:

“When it came down to figuring out these songs [on the Mixtape], I was just like, ‘Dude, this is the white elephant in the room: Are you guys really not gonna go after Ja Rule and Ashanti?’ You wrote it for them. You might as well just have them do it.’” When they agreed, Thompson says, “I was happy as hell.”[12]


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