“Don’t waste the time you have waiting for time to pass / It’s only a lifetime / That’s not long enough / You’re not gonna like it without any love / So don’t waste it”
FINNEAS, a singer-songwriter who has also written and collaborated with his sister Billie Eilish, recently released his second album, “Optimist,” on Oct. 15. I resonated with his last album, so when I found out that he released another, I was excited to hear more. “Blood Harmony,” his other album released in 2020, includes most of the songs from his 2019 EP with the same name. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect for “Optimist” – the title implies that this music would have a more positive message and more upbeat rhythm than most of his previous songs.
However, listening to the first song off the album (“A Concert Six Months From Now”) completely changed my mindset and ideas of how this album would sound. The song makes me think of the experience of being away from someone you love – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and the feeling of wanting to be back together, although that may not be what they want. “A Concert Six Months From Now” set a melancholic precedent for the rest of the album.
Most of the songs on the album bring up nostalgia or the many emotions that come with being in love, similar to his songs from other albums. The order of songs in the album seems to not entirely matter; beginning with “A Concert Six Months From Now” and ending with “How It Ends,” the songs all bring up painful and nostalgic feelings, with a few upbeat but still emotional songs sprinkled throughout the album. FINNEAS meant well and tried to inspire his listeners to live past their pain (“if you wanna dance again / you can dance again”) or tried to make a political point (“How can you sing about love when the kids are all dying? / How can you sing about drugs? Politicians are lying”), but these generic songs about the poor state of the world right now lack promise without any real action behind them.
Like some of the songs on the album, his music videos released so far – “A Concert Six Months From Now,” “Love Is Pain” and “The 90s” – fell flat. Each video is similar in the idea that they show FINNEAS singing or lip-syncing (somewhat horribly) with not much else portrayed in the video. Music videos have the opportunity to tell a story and connect the song to something bigger, and music videos that do this give the song a deeper significance; this was not the case for his music videos from this album.
While “Optimist” includes some songs that make listeners feel that way, overall, it seems to give opposing advice and takes on life. This may show the emotional rollercoaster that most of our lives tend to be – so much happens that it is impossible to predict the happiness or pain that can come with each day. So many of the songs on this album were sad, but he also tried to encourage people to live their lives while they have the chance to, which can be motivating for some but empty or discouraging for others. “Blood Harmony” and FINNEAS’ previous EPs and singles consisted of songs that struck a deeper chord within listeners. The world knows FINNEAS’ talent and potential. While some of the songs on “Optimist” lived up to it, the rest of the album fell short of what it could have been.