Rocking On and Rocking Hard: Rid the World of "Barbra Streisand"

Your Calgary Flames are currently mired in a battle with mediocrity, and the experts are suggesting that The Flaming C needs to win at least 27 of their remaining 39 games to qualify for a playoff berth. No easy feat, but I’m here to tell you, chums, that the picture isn’t as bleak as it seems. Thanks to the extended road trip forced upon the team due to the lending out our fabled Saddledome to Hockey Canada and the World Juniors, the Flames will rock the Dome for 23 of those aforementioned 39 games. Couple that with the 11-5-2 record the team has compiled here in CGY, an impossible task now seems…well, very implausible, but hey…never tell me the odds.

Considering the majority of the remaining games will be played on home ice, it would be good practice to make the Saddledome a hard place to play. For opposing teams rolling through Calgary, they have to be made aware that they’re in for nothing short of a war. Fear should strike their hearts. Bottom line, this doesn’t happen right now, in large part thanks to what can only be defined as an apathetically mute fan base, and, let’s face it, the least effective goal song in the entire league.

We can’t amplify the crowds without a massive culture shift in the city, and that takes more time and mind control than a simple blogger is able to influence. Goal songs, that friends, is an attainable goal.

THE NUMBERS GAME


Season

T-Games

GF

GF/G

NHL RANK

H-GAMES

H-GF

H- GF/G

2010-11

82

241

2.94

7

41

136

3.31

2011-12

41

99

2.41

26

17

40

2.35

As you can see from the table above, the Flames have had a harder time scoring goals as compared to last year; even more so within the confines of the Saddledome, pretty much one full goal per home game. Why has this happened? What statistical analysis could explain a team going from 7th in NHL scoring last year, to 26th in the league this year? This is the question that prompted the discussion between BoL, Arik and VF on twitter; and after about an hour, all drew the same conclusion.

The Calgary Flames goal song sucks!

For those of you who aren’t aware, "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce is the current melody of choice by Saddledome brain trust, a song that evokes such raw emotion as "Why?" And "Really... THIS SONG?" So we need a new one. What does it mean to be THE goal song? What provisos force your hand in selecting one? It’s something I struggled with, because whatever I would choose will realistically be diametrically opposite to whatever bubble gum fluff that does get selected. This is because a hockey game is a family setting, and whatever gets voted in should be accessible to even your 6 year old daughter who still loves her some Dora. So that becomes a challenge; a lot of songs usually sacrifice something interesting when the desired outcome is accessibility (Like, for example, HAVE YOU HEARD "BARBARA STREISAND"?) We’re throwing that element out the window, because we like our ideas better.

THE SOLUTION

In collaboration, Vintage Flame from FlamesNation, Along with Book of Loob and Arik from Matchsticks & Gasoline, have set forth to pick two songs each, which we feel are worthy of the illustrious title of Calgary Flames Goal Song. Defining what makes a song THE song is the key in this assignment, and has admittedly been difficult for BoL to come to terms with, given the number of variables to take into consideration. Basically we’re going to let him ramble on for a bit and hopefully he makes his mind up somewhere along the way. With all legal and ethical disclaimers implied, we’ll kick things off with the blog prophet himself; take it away BoL.

My first option was "Sleep Now In The Fire" by Rage Against the Machine. At first glance, it’s got everything you need. It’s a hard, driving, punishing song that, when played over a powerful PA system like the ones you’d find at, for example, A HOCKEY ARENA, just destroys you. It’s also rife with strong fire imagery, and seeing as this is your Calgary Flames, that really makes a strong case. But this song is somewhat limited due to the political overtones that Rage is known for, and the average parent who has brought their child to the game might, MIGHT be a touch miffed at this song. Now, truthfully, the goal song is not going to be on for very long, and would very likely only loop the chorus "hey, hey, sleep now in the fire", which on its own is pretty innocuous, but hey, if you can give anyone something to complain about, they’re going to do it.

Another choice I wanted was "Fire" by Arthur Brown. This one is quirky, IT’S CALLED FIRE, the relative obscurity of Arthur Brown is pretty delicious, and I just flat out like it. The song begins with Brown yelling "I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE, AND I BRING YOU FIRE!" which is absolutely the most badass thing I’ve ever heard. The only problem is, this is basically an organ driven 60’s pop song the rest of the way, and while it is, I assure you, 100% awesome, it’s kind of got the same cheesy appeal that "Barbara Streisand" does, so to pick this song misses the point a little bit in my estimation. Which is why the song I REALLY wanted to use was, "Hellfire" by Cunninlynguists; which samples the opening of the song and puts a sick beat to it that the Cunninlynguists then rhyme over top of. It’s brilliant. It’s the one song I wanted over all other songs, but unfortunately, Calgary is just not a hip hop town. It probably never will be, so this song is not about to get the crowd pumped up, and any momentum sustained from a goal is short lived. If we were a hip hop town, I guarantee you we’d find a way to get "CGY" by local product Dragon Fli Empire played at every game, as this song based on its own merits should be an anthem in this town anyway. Why you gotta like the country music so much Calgary???

(So... are those your choices? No of course not. Carry on then.- Ed.)

So where did I end up? Well, my first choice is "Firestarter" by The Prodigy. It’s got it all: metaphoric fire, a strong bass line, it’s fairly recognizable; it’s driving and can illicit fear without being offensive or vulgar. And it’s repetitive enough to get stuck in your head but not be annoying. It’s a song that builds momentum as it goes along, a trait you want to resound in the Flames after scoring a goal.

While songs that have burning or flaming imagery in them undoubtedly make a strong case, I didn’t want to limit my choices to pieces that only included them. In the end, you want your goal song to be strong, up-tempo, and to be able to evoke some kind of positive emotional response from the listener. In the end, you want it to be interesting. When I want interesting, I usually turn to one of my favourite bands, TV on the Radio, which is what I’ve done here. My second choice is "Wolf Like Me", which, while not being about you wanting to set anything on fire, alludes to a pack-like mentality of hunters, in this case wolves, which when you think about it, is the sort of trait you want to see in your local hockey team. We want the Flames to be hunters. We want the Flames to howl, and we want to howl with them. I think this song paints that picture beautifully, not to mention it’s sounds great over an arena PA, and, if nothing else, it’s got a link to our good friend Jarome Iginla (Dion Phaneuf and Jordan Eberle, but I choose to ignore that), as it was featured in a Nike commercial for Team Canada during The Olympics. The commercialization of TV on the Radio broke my heart at the time, but I’m over it now, and I want Duck Sauce gone.

Arik: I don’t subscribe to the theory that goal songs need to be directly related to the team. Sure, they probably shouldn’t be blatantly conflicting (like Ice Ice Baby would be for Calgary), but for the most part, I find that the style and sound (excited and catchy- think Chelsea Dagger) are much more important than a reference to a team name."Something To Brag About" by Deer Tick is my first choice. It’s rock and roll, it’s proud, and it’s the right amount of catchy. Not to mention the name of the song is "Something to Brag About", which, for this team, is pretty much any goal scored. Ignoring the annoying intro, the song is pretty energetic without being all "yelly". Add in a hint of western vibe, and you have a perfect song for Calgary.

"I Want You So Hard" by The Eagles of Death Metal is my second choice. Like the first one, it's rock and roll and it’s damn catchy. It’s also got a pretty celebratory vibe and the lyric of "The boy’s bad news" which is really just terrific when you think about it fitting in after any Calgary player scores. It’s also a terrific song for yelling along to drunkenly, which I’m pretty sure is about 90% of the criteria needed, right?

VF: I have to admit, this is something I've been thinking about for quite awhile and have even discussed with some of the other writers over at FlamesNation. The first song that had come to mind had always been Sloan’s "Money City Maniacs". I'm a sucker for Canadian music, and the first 45 seconds of this song would make for a pretty kick ass goal song. There is something about that siren firing up at the beginning; it's like okay everyone... it's time to crank this thing up. The key to any goal song is the energy it produces in the fans that can be used by the players, right? Last time I checked, sirens got people's attention.

"FIRE" by Raghav was my next option for the new goal song. I actually hadn't heard the song until last week when I was at one of the WJC games. The song came on, and a fan beside me had said, "Now why don't the Flames use this song?" Good question, I think. The song has an upbeat energy that is going to grab the fans attention. After all, your team just scored a goal; you probably want to build on that energy before the fans go back to their iPads and Blackberry's. I think this would be an excellent choice for the Flames new goal song. "Fire" has an obvious correlation to the local hockey club; take a listen to the song because what really grabbed my attention was how the lyrics seem to gel with situations leading to goals, and the reactions from the fans.

As I listened a few times to it, I kept coming back to the energy I thought it provided. The one issue I had with it was the fact that goal songs typically aren't very long clips, or are more looped instrumentals; so if that was more the case with Raghav, then I'd really like to see the Flames use it to come onto the ice at the start of each period. One added bonus is that Raghav is an artist from Calgary; the Flames are already such strong members of the community, what's a better demonstration that to show support for a local musician.

"BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE" by The Used is one I'm going to have thrown in for good measure just to offset the chance of relegating "Fire". It's not the traditional version by the Talking Heads, which would be a suitable choice for me as well, but it is an interesting rendition that brings more of a raw energy to the crowd if used when the Flames score. I like this song because of what it suggests and the lyrics could easily become catchy to the fans that would have them singing, if not yelling "Burning down the House", along with the song after each goal.

Imagine the possible fan participation and interaction if the Flames could manage to run up the score on someone in the Dome. Could it be the next "Chelsea Dagger"?
Well there you have it. You might love our choices. You might hate them and think the three of us are completely off our rockers, and you're correct in thinking that way, but I think we can all agree that all of our choices are better than that goddamn Barbara Streisand.


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