Irritating Blackhawks anthem ‘Chelsea Dagger’ doesn’t do the team justice | Worst of Chicago | Chicago Reader

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Irritating Blackhawks anthem ‘Chelsea Dagger’ doesn’t do the team justice

You can get as excited as you like that the Hawks just scored, but it won’t make this a good song.


  • Jamie Ramsay

Since the Chicago Blackhawks debuted the Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" as its goal-celebration song in late 2008, the team has won the Stanley Cup three times. During every championship run, "Chelsea Dagger" has become as inescapable as "Baby, It's Cold Outside" the day after Thanksgiving—and it remains just as irritating when you're subjected to it over and over. In a 2013 Reader essay, Aimee Levitt calls it "one of the most annoying songs ever recorded," part of a chorus of complaints about "Chelsea Dagger" that has mounted over the years—complaints I'd endure read aloud in their entirety rather than listen to the ploddingly delivered gibberish the Fratellis pass off as a hook. Repeated exposure to this 2006 single by a third-rate Scottish knockoff of the Libertines makes it pretty tough to avoid realizing its mediocrity.

Front man Jon Fratelli told ESPN in 2010 that he intended "Chelsea Dagger" to evoke "a rock 'n' roll gig in an old speakeasy or something like that." Even the guy who wrote the song sounds indifferent when describing it (he's frank that he doesn't consider it his best work), giving up halfway through his own sentence to say, "Yeah, that's good enough." The track does evoke a speakeasy—one in the wee hours, after everyone has had one too many. It's a song you can still shout your way through when you're too drunk to drive—and because the recording sets the bar so low, you'll even sound decent doing it.

"Chelsea Dagger" sounds like mundane drunken revelry, which is hardly the part of a professional hockey game that the Hawks intend to celebrate with the song. Scoring a goal in major-league play is an athletic feat impressive enough that it provokes perfectly rational people to compare other humans to deities. The music that celebrates such a momentous moment shouldn't be so ordinary that it blends right into a jukebox of commercial radio rock.   v

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