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Music / Doppelgänger

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"Mannequin left! Mannequin right! Do the mannequin, day and night!"

Two of me, two of you
two of us, two by two
the double life we live...
— “Distance and Direction”

Doppelgänger (The Alarma Chronicles Volume II) is Daniel Amos’s fifth studio album, released in 1983. It continued the New Wave Music exploration from their previous album, but this time with more of an organic rock band sound: the low end is much thicker, and there’s more emphasis on Jerry Chamberlain’s big guitar riffs and solos. Sonically, it was DA’s darkest-sounding work yet—and in the years to come, only Fearful Symmetry would rival it in that regard.

Lyrically, Doppelgänger had two themes, appropriately enough. On the one hand, it continued ¡Alarma!’s satire of American Christianity, this time focusing specifically on televangelists, criticizing their shoddy theology and predatory ministries. (And this was four years before the scandals that brought down Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Robert Tilton—a time when very few Christians dared to publicly speak against any televangelists.) On the other hand, Terry Scott Taylor admits that he isn’t much better than those he’s making fun of. So all those criticisms of corrupt preachers are also confessions of his own darker half. And the story in the liner notes picked up where ¡Alarma!’s story left off: in this installment, Taylor’s Author Avatar has a vision of himself, and he’s horrified at what he sees.

This was followed a year later by Vox Humana.


Daniel Amos is:

  • Terry Scott Taylor: rhythm guitars, lead vocals, backing vocals, percussion
  • Jerry Chamberlain: lead guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Little Crosses” and “Autographs...”
  • Tim Chandler: bass (guitar, 8-string, and fretless), backing vocals, percussion
  • Ed McTaggart: drums, percussion, backing vocals

    Additional Musicians: 
  • Marty Dieckmeyer: bass guitar and keyboards on “Hollow Man”
  • Alex MacDougall: percussion
  • Bill Colton: saxophone
  • a small army of keyboard players:
    • Tom Howard on “New Car!”, “The Double”, “Memory Lane”, “Angels Tuck You In”, and “I Didn’t Build It for Me”
    • Rob Watson on “Mall...” “Real Girls”, “Do Big Boys Cry”, “Youth with a Machine”, “The Double”, and “Here I Am”
    • Jeff Lams on “Real Girls” and “I Didn’t Build It for Me”
    • Mark Cook on “Distance and Direction”
  • Additional backing vocals by: Randy Stonehill, Tom Howard, Derri Daugherty, Janet McTaggart, Dori “Game Show Girl” Howard, Mark Cook, The Three Women from Istanbul, and Emilia Emulator


Side Ein:

  1. Hollow Man ( 2:15)
  2. Mall (All Over The World) (3:13)
  3. Real Girls (2:57)
  4. New Car! (2:00)
  5. Do Big Boys Cry (2:05)
  6. Youth with a Machine (2:42)
  7. The Double (3:50)

Side Zwei:

  1. Distance and Direction (2:48)
  2. Memory Lane (3:48)
  3. Angels Tuck You In (2:38)
  4. Little Crosses (2:35)
  5. Autographs for the Sick (1:40)
  6. I Didn't Build It for Me (2:48)
  7. Here I Am (3:18)
  8. Hollow Man (Reprise) (0:43)

    Other versions 
1992 CD reissue: has the original tracklisting, plus three bonus live tracks:
  1. Concert Intro
  2. Real Girls (Live)
  3. Memory Lane (Live)

2014 Deluxe 2-Disc Collector’s Edition: has the original album on disc 1. Disc 2 contains:

  1. Hollow Man [Alternate]
  2. Mall (All Over the World) [Alternate]
  3. Concert Intro
  4. Real Girls [Live]
  5. New Car! [Live]
  6. Do Big Boys Cry [Instrumental]
  7. Youth with a Machine [Toy Mix]
  8. The Double [Extended Rough]
  9. Distance and Direction [Alternate]
  10. Distance and Direction [Vocal Mix]
  11. Memory Lane [Live]
  12. Angels Tuck You In [Rough]
  13. Little Crosses [Fragment]
  14. Autographs for the Sick [Alternate]
  15. I Didn’t Build It For Me [Alternate]
  16. Here I Am [Instrumental]
  17. Hollow Man (Reprise) [Alternate]

Provides examples of:

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: “Autographs for the Sick”—a parody of Charismatic televangelists speaking in tongues and then translating the message—has four different speakers reciting French-, German-, and Spanish-sounding nonsense.
  • Big Rock Ending: On “I Didn’t Build It for Me”.
  • Book Ends: The album opens with “Hollow Man”, and ends with “Hollow Man (Reprise)”.
  • Call-Back: “Hollow Man” and its reprise are set to a backmasked version of “Ghost of the Heart” (from ¡Alarma!).
  • Captain Obvious: The interpreter in “Autographs for the Sick”, who keeps “translating” even when the speaker is just singing in English. At the end:
    Speaker #4: Hahaha...
    Interpreter: Ha ha ha.
    [three drum beats]
    Interpreter: Dit dit doo.
  • Cherubic Choir: Sings briefly over the outro of “Memory Lane”.
  • Chiaroscuro: The front cover, and some of the interior art of the mannequin, is marked by a high contrast between light and shadow. There’s very bright light visible through the venetian blinds in the background, but it doesn’t really illuminate the room at all.
  • City Planet: Implied by “Mall (All Over the World)”.
    It spreads like the blob
    It swallows your town
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: “New Car!” is a mockery of the “health and wealth” gospel, the idea that God rewards faith with material wealth—and conversely, if you’re poor, it’s your own damn fault for not believing hard enough.
  • Comically Missing the Point: On “Autographs for the Sick”.
    Phonographs for the deaf, they can't hear you
    Gloves for the amputees, they can't cheer you
    Down at the stadium they're waiting for the end of the age
    You're praying for the healthy while the lame never get to the stage
  • Concept Album: Dual concepts: 1. “Televangelists are full of it.” 2. “To be honest, I’m not much better.”
  • Corrupt Church: Half of the Central Theme of the album.
    • “New Car!” and “Angels Tuck You In” mock the “health and wealth” gospel that the televangelists taught.
    • “Do Big Boys Cry” calls them hypocrites who won’t admit to their own wrongdoing.
    • “Autographs for the Sick” accuses them of being more interested in collecting money than in helping anyone with their ministry.
      You're a bonfire lover, counting dollars in the afterglow
    • “I Didn’t Build It for Me” mocks a Real Life incident of blatant church fund misuse (if not outright embezzlement).
  • Credits Gag: The liner notes credit Ed McTaggert with playing “skins, tubs, and traps (say that five time fast!)”. They also credit the background clapping on “Angels Tuck You In” to “The Eric ‘Clap-Tons’”.
  • Drone of Dread: About 30 seconds of wailing synthesizers fall between “Hollow Man” and “Mall (All Over the World)”.
  • Egocentrically Religious: “Angels Tuck You In” criticizes the belief that God owes his followers a life of ease, devoid of hardships.
    This cartoon world you’ve created
    It’s like Disneyland
    Get out your golden ticket
    The one they give you when you’re born again
  • Evil Twin: The other half of the Central Theme of the album, most explicitly spelled out in “The Double”. Everyone is half of a pair: a good self and an evil self. All of us here on Earth? We’re the evil ones.
    I'm his injustice sometimes
    I am his wrong
    It will be right again when
    Christ rules over
  • Foreshadowing: “Mall (All Over the World)” discusses consumerism, and “Youth with a Machine” discusses dehumanizing effects of technology—both topics that would be further explored in Vox Humana.
  • Glory Days: “Memory Lane” is about the danger of obsessing over the nostalgic past.
    You have gotten much thinner
    You're lookin' like a shadow
    It's from dwelling on the might-have-beens
    Living in a time-warp
    To whom am I speaking?
    Some ghost from the past?
    While you think about old glories
    You're fading real fast
  • Gratuitous German: The two sides of the original LP (and the two CD’s of the special edition) are labeled “ein” and “zwei”. And on “The Double”, the backing singers count off the beat in German.
  • Homage:
    • The doppelgänger theme, chiaroscuro art, dark atmosphere, and Gratuitous German are all nods to German Expressionism.
    • “Hollow Man” is an extended tribute to T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men”, mixing direct quotations with original lyrics in the same style.
  • Hypocrite: “Do Big Boys Cry”:
    Do big boys cry?
    Are they a step beyond
    Shouting ‘bout right
    But living wrong?
  • Implausible Deniability: In “I Didn’t Build It for Me”, the televangelist narrator builds an opulent mansion with his followers’ donations. When others call him out, he claims that God told him to build it, as a gift to the whole church.
    There's a plaque in the hall
    My name's on the wall
    And a statue of my family
    It wasn't my decision
    It was all in a vision
    I didn't build it
    I never would have built it
    I really didn't build it for me...
  • List Song: The verses of “Real Girls” are taken up by lists of... types of women, for lack of a better explanation.
    Girls! In ads...
    Girls! With big wigs!
    Girls! Incognito...
    Girls! On display!
  • Literal Split Personality: The Good Twins and Evil Twins (described above) are halves that will eventually reunite and become whole.
    • As mentioned in “The Double”:
      I am his double here, I can expect
      We'll be together when time is no more
    • And also in “Hollow Man (Reprise)”:
      For me, therefore, everything has a double existence
      Both in time and when time shall be no more
  • Lyrical Dissonance: “Hollow Man (Reprise)” promises that everything will get better, eventually—that “the form of every single grain will be restored in glory.” It sounds less uplifting than it reads, because it uses the same creepy backing music as the first “Hollow Man”.
  • Officially Shortened Title: Around this time, even though they still used the full band name on the album cover, Daniel Amos started calling themselves just "DA" at live shows—as documented on the "Concert Intro" track from the CD reissues.
  • The Merch: invoked “Little Crosses” makes fun of the proliferation of Christian-themed merchandise.
  • Miniscule Rocking: “Hollow Man (Reprise)” is less than a minute long, and “Autographs for the Sick” is under 2 minutes.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Downplayed. The mannequin from the liner notes doesn’t kill anyone, but his spookiness is definitely played up. You have to wonder where he got that real human face from, though...
  • The New Rock & Roll: In “Autographs for the Sick”:
    She’s warning all her children about the horrors of rock-n-roll.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • “Do Big Boys Cry” wonders whether televangelists (the “big boys” of the title) ever admit their mistakes and make amends. The final line of the song is, “What do I do? I’m a big boy, too.”
    • “Here I Am” mentions having to watch a church service on the foyer TV (because the chapel was too crowded) and parallels that with the invisible wall that separates the band from their own fans.
  • Offscreen Afterlife: In the liner notes story, the narrator briefly has a vision of Heaven, but declines to describe it in any detail—partly because God forbids him, and partly because his words can’t do justice to what he saw.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In the liner notes story, the narrator sees himself from the outside—without realizing that it is himself—and gets so angry at his own flaws that he tries to attack himself.
  • Parody of Evolution: The liner notes include an illustration of “the evolution of mannequin”, a parody of the March of Progress painting with four mannequins. They’re identical, but with the leftmost one bent over at the waist, and each subsequent one standing up a little straighter. The final mannequin has sunglasses and a smarmy grin.
  • Portal Door: The liner notes story ends with the narrator chasing his double through a mysterious door to parts unknown.
  • Pun-Based Title: “Youth with a Machine” is a pun on the real-life group Youth With A Mission.
  • Shout-Out:
    • “New Car!” name-checks the Game Show announcer Johnny Jacobs and prominently features audio samples of him.
    • "Autographs for the Sick" copies the bilingual four-count from Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs’ "Wooly Bully".
      Uno! Dos! One, two, tres, cuatro!
  • Spoken Word in Music: Both versions of “Hollow Man” are monologues set to music, with some singing in the background. "Autographs for the Sick" has five different speakers talking over each other, while twisted Garage Rock plays behind them.
  • Visual Pun: On the cover, the album title is stylized as DoppelgÄngeremphasizing the band's initials in the word.