Tuesday, 15 March 2011

31: Doublé, “The Captain of Her Heart” (no.8, 1986)

In “We Could Have Been the Wombles”, his entertaining study of the one-hit wonder form, the author Tom Bromley describes this soulful, continent-hopping sensation from Swiss duo Double (pronounced, naturellement, doo-blay) as “Toblerone Sade”, which - though a nice spot of phrasemaking - suggests “The Captain of Her Heart” is rather too smooth and processed for its own good. It’s a lovely, cleansing song, all the same: like eating chocolate on your own on a Saturday night off the back of a lengthy crying jag.

Worth contrasting the two different versions of the video: the European one holds firmly to the song’s after-dark-in-the-jazz-club vibe, complete with clarinets and bubbles, while the MAKE-ME-A-HIT American promo goes (and who can blame it?) for pretty girls with 80s eyebrows staring dreamily into the middle distance, and comically literal dockside action. Vocalist Kurt Maloo is still doing the circuit as a solo singer, but pianist Felix Haug died of a heart attack, aged 52, in 2004 - making “The Captain of Her Heart” even more of a melancholy experience now than it ever was.

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