It’s been a year since Robert Pattinson broke up with FKA Twigs, and since then he’s focused on developing his solo material. Aside from a few one-off performances here and there, he hasn’t put out an album since 2009’s Vogue. Now that he’s officially begun working on his solo material, he’s finally decided to give us an update on what he’s been up to.
The English actor, singer, and songwriter has released a surprising amount of new music in the past year, so let’s take a look back at some of his finest moments. We’ll start with 2010’s Vogue, which finds Pattinson exploring his passion for designing clothes and crafting his lyrics around his muses: Twigs and her friends, models Dacre Montgomery and Daisy Lowe.
Pattinson adopted a more mature approach to songwriting for 2010’s Vogue, and the results are impeccable. Vogue captures a darker side of fashion: its pages are plastered with stories of women exploited by the industry, and its music is dominated by moody ballads and mid-paced rock tracks.
The record opens with the moody ‘Fashion’. The song’s mood boards—a blend of grand piano, guitar, and distorted vocals—call to mind the grand fashion houses of Milan and Paris.
It would be easy to write off ‘Fashion’ as a throwaway track, but its soft, almost wistful tone and haunting guitar makes it one of the best songs on the album. ‘Fashion’ is also one of the few songs on the record that works equally well with MTV’s playlists and indie sets, suggesting that the album might not be as niche as it seems.
The record’s most striking track is ‘Au Revoir Simone’, a duet with singer-songwriter and guitarist Jónsi Gardelj. The song, which translates to ‘goodbye, Simone’, is a stark contrast to the upbeat, if somewhat naive, pop songs that dominate the rest of the record. It’s a fitting tune for a songwriter who admires the work of Frenchwoman Simone
Pattinson wrote ‘Au Revoir Simone’ after he and Gardelj became friends while filming the movie, What Maisie Knew, and the pair performed the song together multiple times during the shoot. ‘Au Revoir Simone’ is both a moving tribute to Simone and a rejection of her rival, fashion icon Coco Chanel—a topic that Pattinson returns to in his song ‘Chanel’.
The remaining songs on Vogue are a mix of up-tempo numbers and brooding ballads. The former include the indietronic-pop bangers ‘Electric Blue’, ‘I’d Rather Be Your Lover’, and the title track, which features rapper Scary Ricky.
Pattinson has been a vocal supporter of indie music, and aside from a few traditional pop songs, he composed most of Vogue outside of the Major Leagues, using a $5,000 piano that he bought himself.
Musically, Passion is the culmination of everything that came before it. It features the rock band MGMT and was produced by celebrated jazz singer and pianist Gilberto Gil. Gil’s unique, signature sound can be heard throughout, lending the album a more mature musicality.
One highlight is the title track, an anthem to the power of love that will become the international smash ‘Summertime’. It was inspired by Pattinson’s then-girlfriend Alicia Keys, who had recently broken up with him. Despite his heartache, he still managed to write and perform the song, which incorporates a rap verse from Keys’ good friend and fellow rapper Eve.
Keys and Pattinson’s relationship would later become strained, and she would no longer appear in his videos or photos. Still, the songwriter has remained close with Keys and their children, and the two often perform together.
The next album, 21, sees Pattinson expanding his musical horizons, working with some of the biggest names in contemporary music. The English film producer Stephen King, who served as executive producer on the film, delivered the record’s only real banger: the piano-driven bluesy number ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’. It’s a stunning bit of composing, showing off the 21-year-old’s burgeoning talent.
Twilight is the soundtrack album for the blockbuster movie of the same name, and it arrived at a crucial moment for Pattinson. He had just broken up with his long-time girlfriend, FKA Twigs, and needed a way to express his feelings. The result is an album that sees him dip into a number of different styles and sounds, from bluesy rock to psychedelic pop.
The title track, ‘Twilight’, is one of the record’s most beautiful and emotional songs. It starts quietly, with soft guitar and strings and a distant narrator. The song gradually builds in intensity, with a pounding 4/4 beat and distorted guitar. The song’s climax arrives with a guitar solo from Tom Hollie, with whom Pattinson collaborated during the making of the album. ‘Twilight’ was recorded at London’s RAK studios and is one of the few tracks on the album to feature some semblance of a pop beat.
The rest of the record is a masterpiece, filled with eclectic, genre-bending songs. There are bluesy rockers like ‘Under The Sun’, which features Nicki Minaj, and blues-based ‘Dont Look Down’, with singer Estelle. The album also incorporates grime, metal, and even hip-hop into its sound. The English rock band Massive Attack even showed up to play on one of the tracks. In fact, as with his previous albums, Robert Pattinson Music 2010 is a collection of some of the best songs he’s ever written. It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest songwriters of our time has finally found his niche. We’re eagerly awaiting the release of his next album.