Let’s be honest—there are many, many things the Blackhawks need to change next season, and there are also a few things we already know will not be changing: Stan will remain GM, and Q will remain the coach, and as we’ve discussed here that’s probably as it should be (history of success, not hitting rock bottom yet, etc., etc.). I’m not here to argue the wisdom of those choices because I can’t say for certain that they’re wrong.
But what I do know is that of the things that need to change, of the refreshers that should take place regardless of managerial continuity, one whose time has come is to ditch the most horrid goal-celebration song in history, Chelsea Dagger.
For any of you out there who actually like this song, you will not like the rest of this post. Tough shit. For those of you who maybe have a nostalgic attachment to it because it commemorated so many exhilarating moments in the not-so-distant past, I get it. But that doesn’t mean it should mark every exhilarating moment to come. Hear me out.
Songs used for chants, singalongs, or when any extremely large group of people are gathered somewhere are by necessity simplistic—and nowhere is this more true and more necessary than American sporting events where thousands of people in various states of inebriation are attempting to say something in unison. So of course, any goal celebration song will be monosyllabic or damn near close to it, but Chelsea Dagger takes this trend to a new low. This isn’t a three-beat “Let’s Go Hawks.” This isn’t even actual words. It’s literally “duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh duh duh.” Did you see how many fucking “duhs” that is? That’s not a chorus; it’s a mindless slurring of sound. And yes, I had to sit here saying it out loud to make sure I actually typed the correct number of duhs, there are that many of them.
I know there are actual verses to this song, but they are not the reason the Hawks use it. Can you sing any of them? I think the line “know me well” is in there? The only time we hear those verses is when a goal is being reviewed and they leave the damn song playing too long.
So the chorus is mindless and stupid. But Rose, you’re a Phish fan, you say. The rest of the FFUD staff pillories me for this, and can you blame them? This is the band of such hallowed poetry as “Give the director a serpent deflector.” But nonsensical as those words may be, at least they’re words. The Chelsea Dagger chorus doesn’t even qualify as such.
And even more importantly, its lilting melody is easy to sing while drunk but that doesn’t make it good. It’s a head-bobbing, rising-and-falling chorus that achieves its purpose: to make you feel like you’re in a raucous Irish pub celebrating. I get it. But that feel is redundant—eventually that raucousness just turns to nausea. The lilting nature that makes it so memorable is exactly what makes it so tiresome. There are only so many times you can hear “duh duh duh” in a short range of rising and falling notes before you feel like that Irish pub is closing in around you and you’re getting shoved out of the way trying to reach the bar (but I wouldn’t know anything about that).
But oh, the memories. Chelsea Dagger is the soundtrack to so many joyous moments over the last decade, right? That may be, but riddle me this: at any given home game recently when the Hawks’ putrid defense gave up a bunch of goals and the team played like shit, and they managed one goal late in the third with the extra attacker to stave off a shut-out but it mattered zero for the outcome of the game, did that drunken-ish melody and pounding series of duhs really make you happy? Did it celebrate the moment, or did it sound like a shrill, hollow reminder of how pointless that score was? This Hawks team (meaning last year’s team or whatever configuration of jabronis they’re going to trot out this coming season) is not the Hawks of 2009, or hell, even of 2013 or 2015. The cast, the mood, and the plot have all changed—there’s no reason the soundtrack shouldn’t change too.
This of course begs the question, what should the goal song be? And fair reader, I don’t pretend to know the answer to that. Something driving and loud and in a major key? Yes. There has to be some pop song or some metal song or ANYTHING out there that could check the boxes of loud, upbeat, and easy enough to hum. Because that’s really all it needs to be, although something unique obviously wouldn’t hurt. And no, I don’t want it to be a Phish song—that would actually be my nightmare, albeit a hilarious one.