The St. Louis Blues have outsourced some of the gameday music to us, the fans. Most specifically, they’ve outsourced the Star Spangled Banner to us (and I assume O Canada as well) because of... wanting to start a new tradition? They couldn’t find an anthem singer? I’m not completely sure.
Fan reaction to this has been mixed at best, confused at worse. We’re still a little under a week away from the team’s home opener, so who knows how this will turn out. Who knows, also, what the Blues’ new victory song is this year?
We’ve had “Run Around Sue.” We’ve had “Gloria.” We’ve had other music from other decades. The team has not had one from most of our players’ lifetimes in a while. Reader Stephan C. sent this in, to take a look at the Blues’ victory jams. Obviously, the team chooses them based on their own criteria (must be a banger, must be older than everyone but Chief), but this letter inspired me to ask everyone here a question: if you, a random Blues fan, were given the ability by Ryan O’Reilly to select the victory song for the season, what would you pick and why? What do you think fits the makeup and personality of this year’s team?
Personally, I liked the 80s anthem direction they took with “Gloria.” Give me some Bonnie Tyler up in Enterprise Center.
Take it away, Stephan! If any of you guys want to send us thoughts, the Mail Bag is always open. E-mail them our way at hildymacgt at gmail dot com.
Dear Ryan O’Reilly,
I don’t envy the responsibility put on your shoulders. A whole city now has expectations. The fans cannot point to decades of having hopes raised and dashed in a zillion different ways and just respond “that’s what happens when you follow a team named after music named after depression”. Now that silly joke many of us uttered across the years doesn’t ring true now that you guys finally won it all. And despite the fact the term “blues” did originally denote depressive toned music it came to be so much more over time. By the time W.C. Handy wrote “The St. Louis Blues” the genre had already been around for several generations and multiple sub genres had emerged. His song was not just his song but was a team effort. Ironically the style of syncopation his band meters in the song is often associated with a different city, New Orleans. Songs with this rhythm are used for funeral marches and Mardi Gras parades. A great band that plays this style of music with improvised sections must do many of the same things that great hockey team must. Everyone must know their part, but because of the improvised aspects they must be adaptable but most importantly they must pay very close attention to their bandmates. It is a music that only truly works when a group works together to hear not just where the music is but where it is going. To get to the point of doing it well musicians must play a lot together and to know tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Know when to dive in to help and know when to sit back and give someone space.
The “St. Louis Blues” will always be the official song of the team, but “Gloria” was the unlikely theme song to the championship season. It is a high energy song that has the feeling of a championship even if the lyrics don’t exactly match up with that feeling. The fact that it became the rallying cry for a team’s launch from the bottom to the top is something that obviously happened very organically. Obviously it was that season’s song and trying to bring it into another season would be trying to chase the past. I do feel that there does need to be a new song. Music inhabits a strange place in neuroscience. Virtually all multitasking makes you worse at both tasks that you are performing. Music however is an unusual exception. There are some tasks that people actually perform better at if they are listening to music. This is why surgeons often listen to music while performing surgery. Surgeons all have their favorites and they very greatly in tastes. In choosing your song you have to have your audience in mind- the team. It will have to be a song that has energy, optimism and focus. It is not a scrappy underdog, come from behind song. Soldiers going to war have moved forward with music for thousands of years. I suggest you do the same as you go into a new season of battle. Choosing the right one will be difficult but you are a pro and a champion.