ALBUM REVIEW: Grandson – Death Of An Optimist

Release Date: December 4th 2020
Label: Fueled By Ramen


The younger generation has a lot to say for themselves, and rightly so. In a landscape of political turmoil, societal divide, and a global health crisis, they’re simply trying to navigate their way through and come out of it all relatively unscathed. Thank goodness Grandson is here to help them find their way.

With his debut album, ‘Death Of An Optimist’, the Canadian-American singer/songwriter has encapsulated this complex maze of emotions with an intellectual yet heartfelt collection of tracks which manage to pick their way through just about everything. From desolate hopelessness to taunting satire, Grandson isn’t afraid to explore the stark reality of the world, gladly taking us along for the ride.

Two tracks highlight this particularly well; ‘WWIII’ lays bare the ever-growing actuality of a once dystopian future, while ‘Pain Shopping’ delves into society’s struggle with mental illness and touches upon feelings of depression, emptiness, and loneliness. Throughout the whole album, Grandson captures those moments of frustration, trauma, anxiety, and disillusion perfectly.

By no means, however, is ‘Death Of An Optimist’ a downer. While lyrically Grandson tackles some tough stuff, the musicality of the album is nothing short of a joy. From the indie-pop ‘In Over My Head’ to the endearingly catchy ‘Dirty’, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. No doubt influenced by electronic music, Grandson fuses this brilliantly with a fresh, alternative energy, and even throws in the occasional hip-hop verse or ferocious riff to keep fans on their toes.

Similar to artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Yungblud, and Enter Shikari (influences of whom are heard in ‘Identity’, ‘We Did It!!!’, and ‘Riptide’, respectively), Grandson refuses to be put in a box. And, in a world where chaos reigns, that seems to be the best way to survive.