AlmostAGhost’s Best Albums Of 2010 – #22. Rose Elinor Dougall – Without Why

Without Why
without the Pipettes

#22. Rose Elinor Dougall – Without Why

Rose Elinor Dougall was one of the original members of The Pipettes, who rose to fame for their irreverant British songs, polka-dotted hotness, and ’50s girl group sound. She left that group after one album, and recorded Without Why, her first solo album. Dougall is a bit more serious than the Pipettes, her songs mostly about love and all its infinite worries.

The album flows well, going from delicate to atmospheric to Johnny Marr-like guitar and back. Dougall’s voice is strong and pure, her British accent charming. Not many singers can sing “my liver, my lungs, my arteries and my cerebral faculties are corroded” with such beauty. On “Third Attempt,” she sings “no-one could shine so brightly / no, no-one could burn so fiercely all the time / but when we did, my darling / you know the world was yours and mine.” The way she sings “my darling” is probably my favorite thing on the whole record. There are a few tracks which remind me of The Pipettes a bit too much (“Start/Stop/Synchro” and “Carry On”), which is fine, I guess, but I could do without. The highlights are the slow burns: “Find Me Out,” “Third Attempt,” “Watching” carry this album, and give it an unexpected weight.

The album closes with “May Holiday,” where Dougall sings “who knows where this leads? Where all of this may lead?” This seems to sum up her prevailing wonderings about love, but also, surely, her new and unknown path as a solo artist. The unknown and unsure can lead somewhere good, or maybe not, but you can follow that road without knowing why. Sometimes it ends up with a cool album like Without Why.

Rose Elinor Dougall – “Find Me Out”

Rose Elinor Dougall – “May Holiday”

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