Finneas’ Debut Album ‘Optimist’ is a Vulnerable Portrait of Love That Stands on Its Own


Album art for Finneas’ “Optimist.” (Courtesy of Finneas’ YouTube)

By Lee Kedem, Arts Writer


Finneas is a performer with an immense amount of talent and, while his capabilities have been shared with the world through some singles he has released, we know him mainly through the music of his younger sister Billie Eilish.

However, the artist’s debut album “Optimist” is the shining moment he deserves. On first listen, it was refreshing to hear an album where no song was one I wanted to skip over, while also being aware that this release could bring him the long overdue recognition he deserves.

Variety in Vulnerability

The album contains a mixture of music that is both heartbreaking and electric. Singles range from “Love is Pain” and “What They’ll Say About Us” to “Around My Neck,” a tribute to his longtime girlfriend, Claudia Sulewski.

The songs reflect the year 2020 through Finneas’ lens, covering the events of the past through thoughtful lyrics and creative melodies. The music showcases versatility throughout, staying relatively in the same genre but venturing out to new avenues with moments such as “Peaches Etude,” a beautiful, classical ode to his dog.

“Optimist” is a book of stories directly from the source himself — Finneas unfolds his view on love, pain and the hardships of this past year in a 13-song tracklist. Not only is this music produced at a high caliber that is impressive on its own, showcasing his forte, but the vocal quality and lyricism are something to witness.

There isn’t a puzzle piece out of place in this album — they all come together to create a big picture, that of an optimist acknowledging his feelings and the way the world has been going as of late.

The portrait Finneas paints with this album feels special and unique because every song flows and fits together as if it’s the next chapter of this book he’s telling, a quasi-Finneas O’Connell Volume I. He shows a distinctive vulnerability in his music, opening up his personal experiences and relationships in a way that is relatable and allows a deeper connection between himself and his listeners. 

A Turn in the Spotlight

Finneas has been part of the genius behind his sister’s music for years — getting recognized for his successes, but seen as her second. In Eillish’s documentary “The World’s A Little Blurry,” we get a glimpse of Finneas in action, working passionately and meticulously in his childhood bedroom, crafting her music and going through many steps to get to the final product. In this album, Finneas gets to step into the light and receive the proper praise he deserves. 

In the first 24 hours of its release, “Optimist” set a classical and tranquil scene for me to read my poetry book on the plane and provided a great soundtrack for getting ready to hangout with my friends. I am thrilled that Finneas’ album is finally here and can receive the wonderful recognition and praise that it deserves.

I cannot wait to see what he has in store for the future — beginning with his “Optimist” tour, which comes to Salt Lake City on Nov. 6 at The Depot.


[email protected]