As good as Geelong have been in the last 6 years and as much as they are loved on the Almanac pages by so many fanatical and pleased followers, there’s something that needs to be said about the golden boys from Sleepy Hollow.
Their song is lousy.
There, I said it, on these pages, out loud. In front of many smug Cat fans, and the Cat mad Almanac founder and editor.
(These are what in corporate life are called career limiting moves.)
Before anyone gets into an obvious slanging match, I will admit that there is a little bit of over-exposure in my dislike for the Geelong song, what with it being sung I imagine 3 weeks out of every 4 since 2007.
And if you are winning flags with their regularity, you probably couldn’t care less how many times it is sung or what it sounds like. As a Richmond fan, that would fall into the category of ‘a nice problem to have’
Maybe then it is like a pop song on an FM station, that’s good to start with but starts to peeve you real quick through massive over-exposure.
But to me, the Geelong song is just bland, plain and uninteresting. Despite a great tune, full of triumphal music, the Geelong song has no ‘up’ moments and shots of the players singing it in the rooms seems to indicate even they find it boring.
Collingwood’s song ends on a high (“for the good old, Colling-wood”), Essendon’s too (“as the Bombers fly UP”). Hawthorn end with a flourish (“we are the mighty fighting HAWKS!”)
Richmond has the famous “Yellow and Black” and “We’re from Tig-er-land!” cries, nuff said there.
Carlton’s song is wonderfully full of arrogance, and the start is brilliant.
Melbourne, although hearing it sung recently is like spotting Haley’s Comet, is at least a rousing song that stirs the Member’s area and has “the emblem of, the team we love” to stir the faithful.
But Geelong’s theme ends flat. The lines are too static, full of short sentences and no real high points. It doesn’t finish ‘up’, instead “down at Kardinia Park” is sung on a descending or low note (Sorry to keep using these highly technical musical phrases, but you get the drift I hope)
Some songs invite additional words or club phrases (Collingwood’s “cor blimey” or the Hawks “4,3,2 one for all…”). This extra stuff creates player involvement, which enhance the whole experience.
I love the fact that the Geelong song says they are the “greatest team of all” but the song really doesn’t bear that out with an invitation to passion and yelling.
The Sydney song ends really well, with “onward to victory” being something you can really feel a team of tired warriors yelling out to each other after a hard fought win. And anything that has the line “shake down the thunder from the sky” has something going for it.
“The team of the mighty West” is pretty good, again an up finish, although the St Kilda song, which starts really well, doesn’t end on a high for mine.
(By the way, the North song seems to be like Evie Parts1, 2 and 3, or Bohemian Rhapsody, with three completely different parts when sung in its glorious entirety)
The songs of the long standing traditional (Victorian) clubs have been around for ages, and any move to update them is usually met with fierce resistance. It’s the traditional versions of the songs that allow us to sing with a straight face reasonably ridiculous lines like “see the barrackers a-shouting, as all barrackers should”, “come what may you’ll find us striving”, “they like to send us, we’ll keep our end up”, “our boys who play this grand old game” and comparing a premiership to a cakewalk.
But at least there’s some shouting, yelling and rallying moments with these songs. Big notes win votes they say on reality TV music comps, and the same can be said for footy songs.
Witness how angry we get when the TV cuts to the news on a Sunday afternoon before we get to see the team sing the song. How incredible would it have been to listen to Port Fairy or the Brothers in Queensland sing their song after breaking their respective three year losing droughts, as described in Almanac pages in recent months.
Club songs get sung at weddings and funerals, are bonding points for all supporters and can bring a tear to a grown man’s eye.
The Cats have been an incredible team in recent years, undoubtedly full of champions on every line, with a depth of grit and determination that (ask any Hawthorn fan) are incredible to witness.
Their recruiting is amazing, their culture exemplary, their business model a benchmark and their winning record at home the envy of all.
They have been by far the team of the last few years.
They are one of the truly great sides in the modern era and would match up well against the great teams from any time in AFL/VFL history.
But they have crap song.