Josiah Martin | A&E Editor
Much of the culture of the great city of Pittsburgh revolves around its professional sports teams. Our teams’ colors, black and gold, are present in any visual reference to the city. They’re even central to Pittsburgh’s flag. Football season is treated with the reverence and sanctity of Lent, and nearly every front porch seems to have a Jolly Roger.
If a city is this proud of its teams, and connects this deeply to them on a cultural level, why is the Pirates’ victory song, “A New Pirate Generation,” so unforgivably atrocious?
To be fair, this song first appeared in the early 2000s with the construction of PNC Park. In the context of ‘00s alternative, this song is sufficiently digestible. However, time has passed. We live in the future. The people who most closely associate this song with the Pirates are a literal “New Pirate Generation,” a generation of fans who have grown up with PNC Park, with 14 losing seasons, and this song at every victory.
Charlie Wilmoth, a writer at Pirates news site bucsdugout.com did a wonderful break down of this song in 2014. Wilmoth touches upon its desperate nostalgia-grabbing magnetic-poetry style lyrics such as “great catch, clutch hits, like Clemente played” and “Pops, Wagner, Traynor, Maz.” Celebrating the glory days is more than fine, but these are among the only Pirates-specific lyrics in the song.
Little about the song is objectively memorable aside from the chant of “let’s go bucs,” which stands fine on its own without the help of the Toyota dealership-sounding instrumental beneath it. This wouldn’t be too great of a sin if Pittsburgh wasn’t home to one of the greatest team anthems of all time, 1994’s “Here We Go.”
Unlike “A New Pirate Generation,” everybody loves “Here We Go.” Old Steelers fans sing it. Children sing it. It’s simple. It’s memorable. It’s loud. The lyrics are updated annually to celebrate new players, not just feverishly list the team’s more legendary players.
“Here We Go” features an effectively timeless drum and bass loop under its familiar and popular titular chant. Meanwhile, “A New Pirate Generation” sounds like a 20-year-old low-level pop rock track and sucks the energy and excitement out of the phrase “let’s go bucs.” “Here We Go” gets regular airplay during Steelers season, while its baseball counterpart does not.
How can a city be home to both the best and worst fight songs of professional sports? Pittsburgh can do better than “A New Pirate Generation.” It has before, and it can again.
Luckily, the Pirates have toyed several times with dialling back usage of the song. At the start of this season, a fan wrote to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Pirates mailbag,” saying that the song had been notably absent from a winning game. While it has since returned with a vengeance, perhaps its days are finally numbered.
The people of Pittsburgh are deeply connected to their teams. They deserve better than a forgettable song that reminds them of a long losing streak, that has aged like warm milk and that doesn’t bring fans together. As the Pirates improve, so should their song.