Good Times is the perfect title for the new Robert Pattinson album. It perfectly describes the essence of what the record is all about. For over a decade, Pattinson turned a corner and became one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. He dated Hollywood royalty and famous faces, became the subject of countless tabloid headlines, and achieved global fame. Now that he’s older and wiser, the 27-year-old British actor has become the patron saint of millennials who can relate to his unique brand of cool.
When his latest album Bad Blood was released in October 2018, it debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Albums Chart and spawned the hit single “Need Your Love.” The song’s video, shot in black and white by director Harmony Korine, depicts Pattinson and his band playing a fun-filled set to a packed house of adoring fans at a California venue. It’s a celebration of creativity and individuality, and it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Pattinson’s latest album.
The Last American Teen Idol
Before Pattinson became a music superstar, he was just another American teen idol. The son of actor Keith and television journalist Anna Pattinson, he first gained fame as a child actor on the television show Growing Up Brady, which documented the daily lives of the famous Brady family. He continued to star in various films and TV shows throughout his teen years and became known for his brooding, laconic attitude and unique charisma. It wasn’t until he turned 21 that he started to really develop as a songwriter and started to see success on the big screen. He went on to star in The Great Gatsby, which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and has been working steadily since then.
Pattinson started writing songs for the first time at the age of 15. After penning a couple of tunes, he met with some of Nashville’s best songwriters and producers, and subsequently began working on his debut album. The resulting record, 2013’s Good Soul Music, featured a number of Nashville-based songwriters and producers who had helped create some of country music’s biggest hits. “I want to give music a good time again. I want to give it the feeling I had when I first heard it. That feeling you get when something is so right that you don’t know how you lived without it,” he previously said.
Pattiinson Is Country, But Not As You Know It
While he began his recording career in the country music capital of the world, Pattinson’s sound is distinctly his own. He grew up listening to a variety of music, including some of his dad’s old jazz records, and developed an affinity for unique sounds. On his 21st birthday, he gifted himself with a mandolin and began playing it as self-expression. Over the past year, he has worked with some of Nashville’s best session musicians to give his songs an old-timey spin. He cites Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as particular influences.
His voice is a unique instrument. There’s something about Pattinson’s velvety baritone that creates an immediate connection with the listener. It’s a shame that while he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the Great Gatsby, he didn’t actually win the award, as the movie’s soundtrack features one of his best performances. “I haven’t listened to it in a while. I think I still love it,” he said of its 2016 release in an interview with Pitchfork.
From Tabloids To Tastemakers
Pattinson’s celebrity, both real and perceived, soared during his teens and early 20s. He became a favorite among Hollywood’s elite and was lauded for his work in the acclaimed film Good Will Hunting. He continues to be associated with some of the most famous faces in show business. The actor dated Hollywood royalty, including Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and gained a reputation for being the bad boy of Hollywood. He courted fans by regularly posting pictures of himself on social media.
Pattinson’s brand of cool attracted a dedicated fan base, and in 2011 he became the subject of a documentary, The English Rose, which focused on his life and music career. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where Pattinson was awarded the Canadian Screen Award for best actor in a documentary.
His music, which he describes as a ‘slice of life‘ record, was received well by critics and fans, and he started to see the fruits of his labor in terms of album sales. He released his second studio album, King of the Jungle, in 2014. It was preceded by the hit “If You Want Me To Stay,” a duet with singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson that became his first top 10 single. The album was a critical and commercial success, spawning the follow-up single “Trust Your Instinct” and the Drake-assisted track “What It Feels Like for a Girl.”
Pattinson released his third studio album, Never Been Better, in 2016, the year he turned 21. The album was a marked change of pace from his previous records. It was a pop album that explored themes of love and growing up. It didn’t perform as well as his previous releases, only reaching number 24 on the Billboard Top Albums Chart. However, it did spawn the hit singles “Madness,” “Sober,’” and “Need Your Love.”
A New York Accent
Pattinson was born in New York City and spent his early years there before moving to Nashville with his family at the age of seven. It was in Nashville that he really started to develop as an actor. He made his film debut in 2012, in the horror movie This Is the End, and went on to star in various films, including the 2017 drama The King, about the relationship between poet Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary. In the same year, he made his Broadway debut in the play The Ferryman. He continues to star in various films and will next be seen in the upcoming comedy series The Good Liar.
The Londoner has become a staple of New York City’s film and theater scene since starring in the 2012 Sundance hit drama The King. He has since appeared in various Broadway plays and is currently starring in an Off-Broadway play, The Ferryman, by Neil Bartlett. Upcoming film projects include the Keanu Reeves vehicle John Wick 3, on which he’s acting alongside Robert DeNiro, and the dark comedy Stuck in Love, co-starring Charlize Theron and Jim Sturgess.
The Self-Assured Man
Pattinson is very much the product of his generation. He grew up watching a lot of 1980s movies and becoming obsessed with John Hughes’ films, such as The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Eighties classics such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dirty Dancing. He even named his dog after the movie’s iconic character, Donald Harris, a.k.a. Ferris.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the influence of those films on us in terms of just showing us that you can be successful and talented, and that being yourself can work,” he told NPR in 2016.
Pattinson isn’t the only one who grew up watching those films. They were a massive part of the ‘tween years for many. While the ‘80s were a time of uncertainty and changing cultural norms, the eight-year-old me (and the rest of the ‘tweens) was more confident than ever before, and not just in terms of fashion. We saw ourselves in these films, and because of that, it was easier for us to be comfortable in our own skin. We didn’t have to fit in with the ‘cool kids.’ We could be ourselves and feel happy.
The Voice Of Gen Z
What’s interesting about Pattinson is that while he may not always get the credit he deserves for speaking to a generation, he has in fact been credited with doing so. In addition to being a cultural figurehead, he’s also been cited as a Gen Z idol, and that’s not an honorary position either. It comes from within the audience themselves. He was a guest on the Joe Rogan podcast and the ever-controversial comedian and podcast host voiced his admiration for the British actor. “He’s kind of done it all. He’s kind of reached a point in his career where he can’t really do anything else,” Rogan said. “He’s 27, and he’s still got that boyish charm that people love. He’s been in a few films that haven’t been great, but he’s still charming. I think that’s why people love him so much.”