Optimist by Finneas Album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions




Billie Eillish’s brother and co-conspirator, Finneas has won eight grammy’s in two years, co-wrote a song with Billie for a James Bond film, written for people like Halsey and Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and it looks like it’s just gonna be the beginning. His knack for pop creations is uncanny, and on his latest album, a solo venture called Optimist, he shows just how much of a force he was in Billie’s music. You can imagine Billie singing the majority of these songs, and making them the viral-worthy songs they are.

But on this album, it is just Finneas’ voice (and production), which sounds like a tuned down 50’s singer. His lyrics are keen, timely, pull-on-your-heart-strings compositions, perfect for the pop alternative music that he creates. “How can you sing about love when the kids are all dying? / How can you sing about drugs? Politicians are lying.” He has a knack for getting into the millennial mindset, while expressing his own personal experience.

Just like Billie’s latest album, there is a lot of ruminating about life post-fame, like the single “The 90’s,” where he sings, “But you could sign me up / For a world without the internet / Hate how easy they can find me / Just by looking up my mom’s address.” Or on the song “Happy Now?” where he sings about how other people are happy for him for his great success, but he can’t seem to hold onto the feeling himself. Or “Someone Else’s Star,” where he sings, “You found fame and it was fleeting / You became someone else’s star.”

He still seems to revel in the platform that he’s been given—much like his sister—being able to create songs that rival the best songs out there in the pop realm right now. And sharing sentiments that might be a little too optimistic for Billie to sing. “You say another prayer, there’s a Heaven / I say it’s anywhere, you’re forgiven.” “I’ll be waitin’ to give you the good news / It might take patience.” “We’ve got the time to take the world / And make it better than it ever was / That’s what they’ll say about us.”

It is a good balance on this album, between heartache and hope. Killer composition and vulnerability of heart. It would probably have been a hit, if Billie decided to sing on this album, instead of her co-creation of Happier Than Ever. But they were able to do both albums during the lockdown, which took a lot of the pressure off and allowed them to give their best, Billie on hers, Finneas on his. Optimist is completely produced and recorded by Finneas himself. I’m wondering if they will insert some of Finneas’s tracks into Billie’s show, or if Finneas will just have to tour himself at some point, in between. It’s a solid offering for him, and shows him to be one of the top pop composers in the game right now.

Order Optimist by Finneas HERE


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