Robert Pattinson’s new album, titled Twilight is set for release on May 20th. The album will be accompanied by a film of the same name, which is based on the vampire novel The Twilight Saga. As we’ve recently learned, the album features some pretty personal lyrics for the 27-year-old singer. We recently had the chance to speak with one of the album’s producers, Jack Antonoff about the new material and the meaning behind some of the lyrics.
New Album And Film Are Based On The Novel, ‘Twilight’
The album and film are based on The Twilight Saga, a series of young adult vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer. Since the first book was published in 2006, the series has sold over 140 million copies worldwide and been translated into 53 languages.
Although the books do center around vampires, they are more closely associated with the werewolf mythology. A werewolf is a human being who has been bitten by a wolf – hence the term ‘werewolf’ – and subsequently develops into a werewolf. There are various superstitions and folklore surrounding wolves and werewolves – some of which are adopted into Russian culture still to this day. For example, in some parts of Russia it is believed that dogs carry rabies, and thus if they are bitten by a dog, the person will turn into a werewolf. This is why the main character in the Twilight film is a werewolf and not a vampire.
The Twilight series has been adapted into a trilogy of films, the most recent of which – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – was released in physical theaters last month and on VOD platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in other regions. A fourth installment in the series, The Twilight Saga: 4-Film Collection, will be released on VOD platforms on April 16th.
You can pre-order Twilight from this link and listen to “Babysitter’s” on this clip. The full album will be available for download on May 19th.
The first single to be released from Twilight is “Babysitter”, a song that has become somewhat of a theme for the singer and his collaborators. “Babysitter” was inspired by a line from a Dr. Seuss book: “What happens when a monster and a babysitter meet?” The answer, of course, is that they become best friends and later decide to share a bed and a life of luxury.
On paper, this may seem like a ridiculous concept. After all, vampires are typically associated with luxury and wealth. What is a wealthy, young Hollywood singer doing writing songs about becoming best friends with a vampire?
Well, for one thing, he actually is a vampire. For another thing, the producers of Twilight wanted to make sure that their audience – young adults and teens in particular – understood the concept of being friends with a vampire. They reportedly asked him to write a song explaining what it means to be friends with a vampire and, as usual, he delivered.
“Babysitter” was originally written for the film and performed by Pattinson, though it doesn’t appear on his album. It was later included on the deluxe version of his album Twilight.
“La La La” is the upbeat, sing-along choruses to “Babysitter”. It was inspired by a line from the 1971 film, Alice’s Restaurant: “Sometimes you gotta eat what you kill.” The line is often misquoted as “Sometimes you gotta feast on human flesh” but that’s not what Alice’s actually saying (at least, not in the movie). In the book – as with all of Stephenie Meyer’s work – language is often used ambiguously so we can’t be sure about the exact meaning of some of the lyrics on Twilight.
“Karma”, the album’s second single, is an up-tempo track that lyrically centers around the idea of retribution. The song’s lyrics follow the story of a man who repeatedly hits, abuses, and humiliates women. His actions cause him to become the target of those women’s karmic fury, which manifests itself in the form of misfortune and disease. Ultimately, he pays for his crimes with his life. The metaphor of a just world vs. an unfair one is a common theme in Indian mythology and appears in works by Indian authors as early as the 1930s.
To a large extent, “Karma” is an indictment of society’s ills. The protagonist seems to embody all the things that the song is decrying: violence, chauvinism, and materialism. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that “Karma” is somehow connected to the film adaptation of Kali Yuga, the latest release from Indian classical composer A. R. Rahman. The two-time Academy Award-winning composer is known for his super-stylized sound and frequent use of Indian instrumentation and mythology in his music.
The album’s third single, “Say Something”, serves as the introduction to a section of songs about unrequited love. The song’s lyrics are in the form of a letter – again, standard for a Stephenie Meyer work – in which the main character writes to his love interest about his feelings for her and she never replies.
Interestingly, “Say Something” was the first song that Jack Antonoff and Ross Butler, the producer and drummer, respectively, of Canadian band Thornley, wrote for Twilight. After hearing it performed by Pattinson, they decided it was the perfect fit for the singer’s vocal range and style. The music video for the song was also co-directed by Drew Berry, who’s previously worked with Bon Jovi, One Direction, and Katy Perry. Berry has also contributed to the art direction of all three of the singer’s Twilight films.
The final track on Twilight – and, again, the last to be released as a single – is “Bad Idea”. Like “Karma” and “Say Something”, “Bad Idea” is another song that takes a critical look at society. This time, the song’s critique comes in the form of a cautionary tale about the perils of youth and its allure. “Bad Idea” was inspired by the real-life story of singer-songwriter Beck, whom Pattinson knew and befriended while filming Twilight. Beck used to bring his pet chihuahua, Trixie, to set every day. The pooch would sleep in Beck’s guitar case throughout the entirety of Wedding Crashers, the 2013 film in which he starred. When Beck passed away from old age a few years ago, Trixie didn’t hesitate to put her head in the coffin with her owner.
Trixie is the mascot of the band Twenty One Pilots, whose lead singer, Tyler, is also an avid dog lover. The duo’s music is a mix of hip-hop and country and features frequent references to dogs, the band’s only apparent constant. In addition to directing the music video for “Bad Idea”, Tyler also co-directed the official video for the band’s 2015 single, “Car Radio”, which prominently features a dog.
Twenty One Pilots have become famous for their elaborate and imaginative music videos, many of which are centered around dogs. The band’s next album is titled Dog Days and is set for release on May 26th. You can pre-order it from here and listen to “Car Radio” on this clip. The album will be available for download on May 19th.