By Staff Writer Maryam Naseer
On October 15, artist Finneas O’Connell — best known for co-writing and producing many of his sister Billie Eilish’s songs — released his own debut studio album, Optimist, as a follow-up to his 2019 EP Blood Harmony. In the album, FINNEAS presents his age and experience in a romantic and expressive manner, with smooth vocals and lyrics that convey his storytelling.
In Optimist, FINNEAS shares his experiences and views without the interference of others. To this end, Optimist is entirely his creation — he handled the writing, performance, and production of the album, playing all background instrumentals on each track. The acoustic, steady album addresses issues with the Internet and politics, seen in the lyrics, “So shut up, the Internet is mad/ They say you’re problematic and you’d better take it back/ There’s nothing you can do that people won’t misunderstand.”
The lead single, “A Concert Six Months From Now,” was released on August 5 and is the first track on the album. At the song’s apex, percussive beats come in loudly in the background, emphasizing the lyrics, “I’ve been thinking too much/ And it’s ruined my nights/ But it’s hard when it isn’t/ To let yourself slide.” In the song, FINNEAS describes his past relationship, lending the song significance in the album. Throughout the accompanying music video, he is shown stumbling and being propelled by an invisible force depicting the words he sings by an invisible force.
Besides its superior production, Optimist succeeds in keeping a consistent tone that ultimately gives it a soft and romantic flow. Its lyrics with deep meaning about his old love, nostalgic times, and society make it an enjoyable album to listen to. Reflecting on others that he has built relationships with, FINNEAS communicates his stories into songs like “Love is Pain.” Thus, his songs are also a reflection of himself and the relationships he built with his parents and partners.
Although the album as a whole excels, a few songs stand out from the others. “The 90s,” with its energetic instrumentals, is a fun outlier from the slow and calm tone present in the rest of the album. “Medieval” shares the same concepts of reminiscing over the past, discussing the idea of holding true to one’s beliefs despite changing times as FINNEAS sings, “I could tell you what happens to the new king/ When he goes out of fashion.” The quality of the instrumentals is dominant throughout the vocals which provide a unique quality to each one-of-a-kind song.
FINNEAS’ passion, talent, and dedication come together in Optimist to create a remarkable album. Throughout the album, he creates a personal message about the loneliness and regrets he felt through his youth and adulthood. Optimist opens a new stage for FINNEAS as he grows into his own skin as a songwriter and produces more albums to await.