Album review: “Optimist” by Finneas

Album review: Optimist by Finneas

Waleeja Chaudhry


By: Finneas

Rating: 6/10

On October 15, pop singer and songwriter Finneas released his sophomore album “Optimist”. It is a creatively distinct solo album that hits the indie sweet spot for his fans. The attention to detail executed by the artist is apparent throughout the project. However, the album is hollow and fairly two-dimensional, not living up to the standards of Finneas’ previous work. 

The album has many one-toned piano ballads with lackluster lyrics. Songs such as “Hurt Locker” and “Someone Else’s Star” are simply boring and lack excitement.

Unlike the name, the album is gloomy and talks about topics such as politics, fame, and his partner., and obviously, his dog Peaches who has a whole interlude dedicated to her. In the song “The Kids Are All Dying”, Finneas touches on white privilege with lyrics like “I’m whiter than the ivory on these keys.” Even though adding a political lens to an album can be a good thing, the artist fails to accomplish this as he acknowledges his privilege without seeming to do anything about it.

Another subject Finneas sheds the light on in “Optimist” is the harrowing and tortured trappings of fame. He seems disturbed by his own personal drama and confused about his place in a world rife with disasters. In “Someone Else’s Star,” he outlines an age-old pop-star dilemma: “Now all your memories feel more like films/ You put ’em on to see which ones still kill/ You wonder why the bad ones paid the bills.” Intended or not, the album comes off as whiny and does not have a particularly compelling insight on the familiar post-fame trope.

People know Finneas as the brother of today’s biggest pop star, Billie Eilish, but this album seems to have taken a turn away from what the duo have done together. “Happier Than Ever,” which they wrote together, had a certain spin of eccentricity that “Optimist” lacks. 

Ultimately, “Optimist” is neither a breakthrough album nor an uninspired flop. It is the essence of competence but could benefit from some weirdness. The artist is playing safe and with the diversity in today’s pop, it doesn’t stand out. The introspection shown by Finneas is appreciated but it’s definitely not enough.