If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard of Robert Pattinson. The English actor has been in the spotlight ever since he featured alongside his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in the iconic kissing scene from the Stephenie Meyer movie. Since then, the 26-year-old’s life has been covered in blogs and magazine stories, he’s appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, and has even launched his own brand of perfume.

But now, Pattinson is stepping out of his comfort zone. The actor has released his sophomore album, Meltdown, which is filled with dark and brooding themes. On the record, Pattinson tackles everything from relationships to fame to suicide. Join us as we dive into Meltdown, the making of the album, and what it means for Pattinson.

From Twilight To Bad Boy Bubbly

It’s fair to say that Robert Pattinson’s career has taken quite a turn. Back in 2014, the English actor, singer, and fashion designer was best known for his role in the Twilight movies. The series, which was adapted from the bestselling and award-winning novels by Stephanie Meyer, followed the journey of a vampire couple, Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart), who fall in love. The adaptation, which originally aired on television in the UK, spawned several movie sequels, the most recent one being Eclipse, released in 2012.

While the Twilight films were enjoyed around the world and made a star out of Pattinson, the actor was already plotting his exit strategy. Shortly after the release of Eclipse, he announced that he was stepping away from Hollywood to focus on his music career. He’s since made the decision his priority, and rarely, if ever, turns down an opportunity to perform.

The Making Of Meltdown

Meltdown is the sophomore album by English actor, singer, and fashion designer Robert Pattinson. The album was released on March 16, 2019, through BMG and Republic Records. The record, which was recorded at four different studios across two continents, is the culmination of a long journey for Pattinson.

The 26-year-old began working on the project four years ago, after he became inspired by the works of American artists such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. “These guys have been my heroes my whole life,” he told Rolling Stone. “With them, you never really know what is going to happen next. I always felt like they were giving me the clues but I didn’t always understand what they were trying to tell me.”

During the early stages of the album, Pattinson worked with producer Jonny Buckland, who encouraged him to explore darker themes. “We wanted to make something that was more intense and real,” Buckland told Rolling Stone. “He’s come a long way as an artist, and the way he carries himself, I knew he could do this.”

Over the last year, Pattinson has gradually built up a band of high profile musicians that he’s collaborated with on the record, including guitarist Marc Marpeau, bassist Dave Hernandez, and drummer Matt Bissonette. The English rock band Queen, which consisted of guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon, and drummer Roger Taylor, is also featured on the album. The band, who were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018, contributed “Brighton Rock,” a song that appeared on their 1992 album, The Miracle.

The collaborations on Meltdown came easily to Pattinson, who has been working with some of the biggest names in rock music for years. “I love working with these guys,” he told Rolling Stone. “They have been my inspiration my whole life, and I feel like we connect on a really deep level. It has been an honor knowing them as friends for such a long time and getting to work with them on this album.”

The Meaning Of Meltdown

Meltdown is a bold choice for an album title, but it perfectly sums up the type of music that the record is trying to convey. The album represents a complete change of pace for Pattinson, who, until now, has been known for his romantic comedies and Twilight films. Over the last four years, the English actor has slowly transitioned away from the limelight and into the shadows, both on and off screen. He’s been in nearly every other form of media that there is, from commercials to fashion parades, but it seems that he’s found his true calling as a musician.

The English rock band Queen, who was mentioned earlier, started out in the ’70s as a light pop band, but gradually developed a darker sound over the years. They released their final album, The Game, in 1995, when lead singer Freddie Mercury was still alive. The band began seeing themselves as something other than just a pop band, and by the time they released their 2012 album, Reckoning, they had fully embraced their darker side. The title track, which was the lead single from the album, was inspired by the 1996 O.J. Simpson trial, in which the former NFL star was found not guilty of murder.

Like Queen, Pattinson has been slowly transforming himself into an artist whose work is filled with heavier and darker subject matter. It wasn’t always easy for him to make the decision to become an artist. At first, he wanted to be a screenwriter, and even tried to adapt one of his own novels for the big screen. But after three years of writing screenplays and doing a bit of directing, he realized that he wasn’t happy with the way that his career was going. “I never really felt like I found the calling in screenwriting,” he told Rolling Stone. “It is a very difficult industry to break into as an unknown, and I certainly didn’t have the connections to allow me to do that.”

Pattinson’s transition to more serious subject matter began when he was 23 years old. The English actor landed a role in the 2007 Stephenie Meyer adaptation, Death Note. The story follows a popular high school student, Light Yagami, who has the power to see the endings of people’s lives, and uses this gift to fight crime. While it’s a comedy, elements of tragedy begin to creep into the story, and it’s not long before Light’s friends and family begin to die. The role required Pattinson, who was then just 23 years old, to mature on screen, in addition to growing a mustache and filling out his photo profile on social media sites. It was then, while playing Light Yagami, that Pattinson began to see himself as more than just an actor; he began to see his life as a performance, and started to incorporate this idea into his songs.

Two years later, in 2009, Pattinson collaborated with B-Real on the song “I Shot That Bitch,” from the Wu-Tang Clan album A Better Tomorrow. In the song, Wu-Tang Clan members GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Raekwon, go on a killing spree, shooting at people with the help of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But the song is more than just a mindless thrill ride; it’s an ode to those who’ve been through hard times, and a rallying call for those who dare to dream.

Pattinson’s first solo single, “Just What I Needed,” was released in 2014. It was one of the lead singles from his debut album, Dior, and it was a commercial success, becoming one of the best-selling singles of 2014. The song, which is about self-love, was inspired by Pattinson’s split from actress Talulah Gomes. While the couple were still together, they worked on the song together, and it was the first song that Gomes wrote for Pattinson. Dior, the album, was named after the luxury goods brand and contains songs that are about self-love, friendship, and other themes that are essential to human existence. “Dior is a symbol of elegance and beauty,” Pattinson said of the record. “But it’s also about having confidence and not caring what people think about you. I think that is quite an interesting dichotomy.”

Pattinson again collaborated with B-Real on the songs “Let the Games Begin” and “Carry On.” The former, the album’s opening track, is about getting in shape for a major event in your life, while the latter is a pep talk for people who need some motivation. Both songs were inspired by the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.