FINNEAS - “Optimist” Album Review

Story posted October 20, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by John Westmoreland.

FINNEAS, otherwise known as Finneas Baird O'Connell, released his 2021 album this Friday titled “Optimist.”

O’Connell is the older brother of Billie Eilish, another prominent singer/songwriter who rose to fame over the last few years. O’Connell makes his own music and is inspired by his sister’s success in the industry. They work together on some songs to bring a collective vision to life but not all.

On this album, there are no crossovers between the two of them.

“Optimist” opens with a somber tone (as is O’Connell’s usual style) with creative lyrics and a powerful crescendo towards the end of the first song “A Concert Six Months From Now.”

FINNEAS does not shy away from poetic influence in his song writing process. He can turn a story about walking around or daydreaming about the past into proverbs with his innovative use of rhyme scheme and diction.

“A Concert Six Months From Now” uses the lines, “If I could see the future, I never would believe her | Falling in and out of love and falling in again, we were never any good at being friends.” These lyrics capture this phenomenon of rhyme perfectly.

While reading it casually, there is no detectable rhythm or flow, but with an unconventional technique such as O’Connell’s, it becomes the headliner for the song.

FINNEAS continues the album with “…Only A Lifetime,” a mix between a sad romance chant and a preach for love and its meaning in our lives. O’Connell’s vocal range is well demonstrated here by his noticeable strain to hit high notes during the bridges of the song.

His ability to remain consistent in tone without losing his deeper voice is impressive to any listener.

This album remains consistent with its somber message through to the end, only deviating from its tone once in his fifth song on the track “The 90s.”

A new listener to FINNEAS might assume that his songs never reach their peak, always elevating to the point of climax without reaching their highest octave or volume. While it's difficult to pin down just what this sensation is, it is palpable to anyone who listens to his new album.

Right as you think the song is about to erupt into a chorus of instruments and vocals, it descends back into a consistent and brutish pace. This is very intentional on the part of FINNEAS and explains the strong attitudes of his most die-hard fans.

While FINNEAS’ new 2021 album “Optimist” is not for everyone (perhaps titled ironically after listening to its content) it is surely not a creative work to be ignored. His use of innovative writing techniques and word play is nothing short of genius in the time of mass produced, pop-song hysteria. His lyrics are far from dishonest and his work reflects his commitment to authenticity.

While the album is not for a typical radio listener, it is surely phenomenal at what it was attempting to accomplish. “Optimist” is consistent in theme all throughout and holds interest through its 43-minute run time.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “A Concert Six Months From Now.”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Peaches Etude.”


John Westmoreland is a first-year film/video major. To contact him, email