It was only a matter of time before Robert Pattinson’s music video for “Lullaby” became a viral video. The song, the emotional lead single off his debut album, became an international hit, reaching the top 10 in Australia and the UK, the top 20 in Canada and the US, and hitting number one in Brazil.
The music video, directed by Sarah McColgan, shows the former actor and musician curled up in a fetal position on a neon-pink beanbag while a horde of small, fluffy kittens meanders around him, purring and napping. In the video, a tear rolls down Pattinson’s cheek as he sings the song’s haunting chorus.
The song and video are as heartwarming and cute as can be, but have also become the benchmark for any new music video featuring animals. “Lullaby” is now the ultimate cat video, and it also made waves in the realm of music criticism, with the New York Times dubbing it “the best song ever about being a drowsy, contented child and listening to your parent’s gentle lullabies.”
It’s easy to understand why “Lullaby” resonated with viewers. Not only does it speak to the universal experience of wanting to go to sleep as the world around you slows down to a halt, but it’s also a story of pure, unadulterated happiness. Still, the song is so good that it’s hard not to wonder if it might be the best of a handful of wonderful songs written by Pattinson and his management team, the Kasper Proffit Group. Is “Lullaby” really the best song by Robert Pattinson? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the song’s incredible, unforgettable lyrics and unforgettable performance to find out.
We’ll begin by examining the lyrics, since most of the credit for “Lullaby”‘s success probably goes to Pattinson’s impeccable poetry. The lyrics to the song are haunting in their simplicity. As the New York Times put it, “Lullaby” is “a parable about comfort, reassurance, and the beauty of simplicity.”
“Lullaby” is actually a reworking of the nursery rhyme “Old MacDonald Had A Farm,” using a different set of animals. When the song was first released in 2013, critics compared it to the work of indie folk titans like Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. In fact, Pattinson has stated that “Lullaby” was written in homage to Mitchell’s “A Case Of Uneasy Lyrics.”
The two-and-a-half minute track opens with a gentle piano and cello intro, which gives way to a sparse, haunting chorus:
- Old MacDonald had a farm
- Eighty goats and hens
- Sixty milk cows
- One hundred thirty-three ducks in a pond
- A dog named Spot
- And a cat named Marshall
- They all lived in a big beautiful barn
- With yellow walls and a thatched roof
- And the barn was the coolest place to be
- In the wintertime
The narrator in the song is a child who’s just fallen asleep, and the song details the animals that the child sees wandering around their farm as they watch the moon wander around the sky. The imagery is simple but effective; it’s easy to picture the little farm in the moonlight with the animals bedecked in sequins and jewels.
The song’s subject matter is timeless, yet it still speaks to our own era. Many of us, especially parents, can relate to the story of a baby animal’s peaceful coexistence with its farmyard friends. Even if you’ve never thought about it, you probably know someone who has. For example, the line “Old MacDonald had a farm” could be apropos to any number of children’s book stories about animals living together in harmony.
An unforgettable Performance
While the lyrics to “Lullaby” are unforgettable, it’s the almost perfect performance by Robert Pattinson that makes the song so special. The New York Times has called the song “an anthem for the comfortably asleep.” That sentiment is spot on. Like many of his solo material, “Lullaby” features Pattinson’s unmistakable honeyed falsetto that is, in the words of the New Yorker, “warm, rich, and a bit husky.”
The song is actually a duet with Kristen Stewart, with whom Pattinson was romantically linked at the time. As the Times put it, their singing “makes even an otherwise sleepy child want to go out and play in the backyard.” Their harmonies are captivating, whether they’re trading off verses or holding on to a high note for an extra measure.
Like most of his songs, “Lullaby” was produced by long-time collaborator William Orbit. They previously worked together on the 2009 album “The Love Song,” which featured another gorgeous ballad called “What Will Tomorrow Bring?” It was written for and co-produced by Orbit, and it too became a global hit. The album also featured the gorgeous “Trust Me,” which the New York Times called “a pitch-perfect example of what made [their] first album, ‘Speak,’ such a thrill to hear.”
What are your thoughts on “Lullaby”? Is it the best song by Robert Pattinson? Let us know what you think in the comments below!