Songs You’ve Heard Before, But Can’t Put Your Finger On: Double- “The Captain of Her Heart”

In attempt to further broaden the horizons of subjects to write about on BfD (as if there wasn’t many to begin with), I am starting a series (hopefully) of exposés on Phantom Songs. These are songs that are played through the general airwaves everywhere we go, but never with an introduction or even a slight hint of an artist or title. With this, I hope to achieve a movement in which songs on the radio become more properly introduced, and in-store radio networks provide an actual track list at the customers disposal. Although this will never happen, at least I will have something to write about.

You’ve heard this tune before. The rhythm always sticks in your head, but not long enough to recite it to someone who might know about it or give a fuck. Eventually the song slips from your mind, with not even a faint memory of it’s existence. Then, one day when you’re crunching numbers and absolutely hating life, the song will come on the radio. Pen in hand, you will write down whatever fragments of lyrics you can transcribe from the muffled dictation. You take the lyrics, and punch them into Google. No luck at all. So you list off the instruments you hear: a sweltering sax, an 80’s soft piano, still no dice. Then you start debating your listening skills. You start trying to figure out a different chorus. Change the word “Hall” to “Heart” and voi-fucking-la. You found the song. You can now listen to it at your own leisure. Now what?

This is what I went through when trying to name the song “The Captain of Her Heart” by the Swedish one-hit-wonder duo, “Double”.

This song and me go way back. I remember being a kid, and hearing this song at least 3 times during every trip to Kohl’s. This was not because the manager loved the song, but to the account of my mother taking way too long shopping at Kohls. This song makes me want to wander around a department store, or get stuck in an elevator. Double has produced a song that is so generic, that it’s genericy exceeds even itself. It makes the listener want to do generic things. While listening to generic songs. Unlike some Phantom Songs, there is a reason why people don’t remember this ditty. Given the talent behind it, one can only assume that it is merely royalty free music, produced by a computer and a sampler. I assumed that the song has been used in numerous TV shows or commercials, but I cannot for the life of me find any references pointing in that direction. This is probably because “The Captain of Her Heart” rests on the fine line of licensed and license-free music. Anybody with a Casio, a sax, and a few hours could reproduce this song, perhaps even make it better.

The strange thing is, I kind of like this song. A lot. It’s just…so fucking smooth! I feel like I can get away with anything, as long as this one’s playing on a ghetto blaster that I carry around. Nobody would ever hurt me or look at me the wrong way, because I would be flooding their eardrums with pure generic coolness. Anyone who doesn’t agree can just deal with it, obviously. This song could get away with murder, rape and/or genocide. It’s just that cool and transparent.

Double (pronounced Do-Blay, which is weird because the literal use of the word Double works too, as it is a 2-man band, but maybe that’s still the same meaning, whatever, ect.) was a short lived musical duo that consisted of Felix Haug and Kurt Maloo. According to their website, doublecity.com, one of their songs “got several plays on VH1”. (Which makes me wonder, who in the hell watched VH1 in the ’80s?) Also, the bio proclaims that “The Captain of Her Heart” is a “modern day classic”. I wonder if it gets plays on VH1 Classic. They produced 3 albums together, and decided to go their separate ways. After winning the award for Coolest Name Ever, Kurt Maloo went on to record various solo albums, with moderate to low success. Allegedly, Felix Haug went on to compose scores for films, but I can find no evidence that this is true. They allegedly got back together in the late ’90s. The set out to record a new album, but then Felix Haug died of a heart attack in 2004. This makes me wonder how far they had actually gotten into making an album, considering that they had 5-8 years to do so in between those two occurrences. Maybe they were lazy. Maybe there was drug addiction involved. Maybe, just maybe, what they created was so genius that it could never have been exposed to the world in the first place. Either way, by the time any of this could have happened, the world stopped listening.

Which leads to the major problem in researching one-hit-wonder bands. There is a lack of information available about them. Perhaps this is why these types of artists exist, as they try to preserve their private lives. Or they’re probably just not interesting enough.

Tune in next time, when I try to discover that one song from the mid-90’s in which various women (presumably bald) sing vocal inflections incessantly, and there are hardly any discernible words. It should be a good time.

-T.COZAY

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