In writing ‘Chelsea Dagger’, Scottish rockers The Fratellis might just have inadvertently created the perfect celebratory sports anthem. Although the song faired pretty well in the UK and European charts, the single sales have been eclipsed by the song’s popularity on both sides of the Atlantic as a soundtrack to goal celebrations by high profile sports teams including Chelsea FC, NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament and (undoubtedly the pinnacle of athletic performance) Professional Darts Corporation matches.
The song’s monosyllabic shout-along hook makes it perfect for testosterone (and/or alcohol) fuelled audiences, with the band’s sound exuding a beer-drenched, unrefined swagger (as a side note, the song’s name comes from the stage moniker of singer Jon Fratelli’s wife, a burlesque dancer). The approach and tone of the bass part are no exception; bassist Barry Fratelli’s stinging triplet fill in bar 3 clearly announces his intentions, with an overdriven and aggressively picked sound to match the attitude of the song. The bass line for the main riff and verse sections are simple, crotchet-orientated affairs played with a definite ‘bounce’ that reinforces ‘Chelsea Dagger’s’ underlying shuffle feel – the end of each section is punctuated by a prominent triplet fill.
The prechorus part matches the vocal line, weaving a chromatic line that is built on the song’s anthemic hook, with the material of the first four bars transposed down a perfect 4th to create the lead into the chorus.
The bridge section provides a great workout for getting your plectrum chops in shape – picked triplets at 154bpm require a fair amount of right hand control to execute accurately and consistently as you’re beginning each grouping with a different pick direction; just because the song has swagger doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to get sloppy.