The Optimist In Me – You Should Smile More Often
The Optimist In Me is an alternative rock band from the Netherlands aiming to make a positive impact on global happiness while encouraging individuals to embrace their inner optimist. By promoting awareness, they seek to deepen the understanding of mental health. Through the universal language of music and the captivating experience of live shows, they aim to foster a culture of support. Looking to challenge a mouse for dominance as the happiest place on earth, I know I would prefer a record over a packed theme park with screaming kids and stressed parents. While I have nothing against anything related to said mouse, as a music lover, live shows and fellow music lovers make me as happy as I can be.
- Wietze Halma – Vocals/Guitars/Bass
- Caleb Bingham – Guitars
- Daan van Breukelen (Dan Brooklyn) – Drums
November 17, 2023 – Mindful Music/The Orchard
- You Should Smile More Often
- Window In The Sky
- Glass Half Full (Don’t Be Afraid)
This album opens with a mournful guitar that might make you wonder if they really are trying to promote happiness, but once the intro is done, the upbeat Alt-Rock starts. The vocals bring in a bit more happiness with a nice, bright, clean tone that is layered in places. The chorus has a bigger presence than the verses or the instrumental parts, emphasizing the words in the chorus imploring us to look for happiness and joy and offering to show us the way to smiling more often.
The tones opening “Windows In The Sky” are darker. The guitars are heavier and much more moody. The keys and bass reinforce this while the drums shift tempo and pattern often, keeping you a little off balance, and drawing out the foreboding tone of the guitars. To me, this song is all about overcoming self-doubt. The chorus implores us to go on, despite this doubt:
Don’t give up,
Don’t give in,
I feel your heart beating within,
You’ve so much more to give,
Think about those,
Think about those around you.
Having recently struggled with burnout and getting my world turned completely upside down, I need to hear this. Two months ago, I started working with a therapist and this song reminds me that I made a good choice doing that. I feel this song on a visceral level, so it hits me right in the feels.
The EP closes with “Glass Half Full (Don’t Be Afraid).” Growing up, that was the mantra of the optimist. Seeing the glass half full rather half empty. Much of life depends on what you look for. Look for ugly, you will find it, just read a freaking newspaper or watch the news, but there is happiness present in the world. This is a philosophy I take into my review writing. While this album is not about me, it fits me in many ways, so I truly appreciate hearing this. I’ve listened dozens of times and feel a little better every time I get through the whole thing, which only takes about 11 minutes.
I only write on records I like. Why? Because I refuse to write negative things about those records that I don’t really connect with. I cannot write or play music (don’t even ask about my singing), so I will not say that something is not done properly. Just because I don’t connect with it, that does not mean it deserves to be trashed. Again, this EP is not about me, but it validates how I think and what I feel about many things in life, especially my role as a music journalist. This is one of those rare albums that I relate to on levels that are often paid little to no attention. I hope you get the same feeling when you listen.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 10
Overall – 10.00