After just over a month since his breakup with Katy Perry, Robert Pattinson has returned to the spotlight with the release of his new single, “Sober.”
The 22-year-old Aussie singer-songwriter debuted the song live on BBC radio 1 in the UK on Thursday, October 25, and has since begun playing it on tour.
“Sober” is the first single from Pattinson’s upcoming album, U.S.A, which is scheduled for release on October 30.
In terms of style, the song is a bit of a departure from Pattinson’s previous offerings. “Sober” is a slicker, more polished pop-rock song that finds the British musician making his American music debut. For fans of The Twilight Saga, the track will feel right at home — it draws its groove from the same source material as “Breaking Dawn,” “New Moon” and “Eclipse.”
The new direction is hardly a shock given the singer’s recent life transitions. In August, he announced that he and Perry had called off their engagement a few months prior. In September, he released a statement about his sexuality, coming out as gay.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the singer’s sexuality had never been in question. He’s been open about his attraction to men since starring in the erotic short film, The Rover, in 2014. The following year, he became the face of Marc Jacobs’ #MarcforMarc campaign.
With the release of U.S.A, fans will get to see more of Pattinson’s artistic side. The singer worked with Annie Leibovitz on the album’s photoshoot and she has shared some of the images on her Instagram.
While the photoshoot was enough of a tease to keep fans interested, Pattinson has followed up the images with more details about the album. In a September 20 Instagram post, he revealed that he had written some of the album’s songs while on tour in Australia. He also thanked fans for their support during his time away from the spotlight. “Sober” is the culmination of that support.
Why Is Robert Pattinson’s New Album Being Treated As A Big Deal In The U.K.?
It’s only fair to say that U.K. music fans have something to shout about. The country currently has six albums in the Billboard 200’s Top 10, more than any other nation. In addition, U.K. artists appear on 45.8% of all tracks in the Billboard Top 100, compared to the international average of 39.1%.
Perhaps the most recognizable name on that list is Adele, whose 25 sold over 1.2 million copies in the U.K. alone. The songwriter thanked fans in a tweet after the album’s release, writing, “I’m so grateful for you all for listening to my music and supporting me throughout this process. Your loyalty and love has not gone unnoticed.”
While the album’s popularity comes as no surprise given Adele’s longstanding U.K. fanbase, the scale of Pattinson’s appeal should not be underestimated. The singer has cultivated an extremely devoted following in his home country, with over 8 million followers on Instagram. The following of his American fans is also impressive, with 4.9 million followers — over a quarter of his total following.
Pattinson’s previous album, Vampire Weekend, was a massive international success, peaking at #6 on the Billboard Top 100. The album’s lead single, “Handsome,” received frequent play on Australian radio. In 2016, fans went so far as to rename a rare snowflake after the band.
With U.S.A, Pattinson teams up with some of the biggest names in contemporary music, from Future to Bruno Mars to Camila Cabello. The album is a true showcase of his range, with everything from delicate acoustic numbers to stadium-worthy anthems.
The Dark Horse Behind The Success
Even now, 10 months after the album’s release, fans are taking to social media to pay tribute to the singer. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Pattinson said that U.S.A is his favorite album of all time and he credits its success to careful consideration, planning and a bit of luck. He described the album as “my magnum opus.”
“I’ve learned that you can’t control much in life, but you can control how you respond to things,” said Pattinson. “With this album, I wanted to go all the way back to my roots as a musician — even if that means taking some risks. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a recording studio and feeling insecure. I wanted to make sure that every song was as good as it could be, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”
Pattinson is perhaps best known for his role as the sullen, brooding Edward Cullen in Twilight and its sequels. While those films made him a household name, it was his music that solidified his status as a singer-songwriter to watch. Between 2007 and 2010, he released three critically acclaimed EPs — one of which, 2008’s Just Like Heaven, became Billboard’s #1 album of the year — as well as three LPs. In 2017, he won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
Pattinson has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in music. He wrote parts of Adele’s Grammy-winning 25, as well as Lily Allen’s 2018 album, Eaten by Animals. In 2010, after spending two years living in New York City, he returned to London and collaborated with Stormzy on his 2011 debut, Gang Signs. In 2015, he collaborated with Sia on her chart-topping album, Tomorrow.
Pattinson’s solo work has not gone unnoticed by the industry either. In 2019, he won a Brit Award for International Male Solo Artist and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Solo Performance for his song, “Waves.” In 2020, he’ll be collaborating with Travis Scott on the latter’s upcoming studio album, Astroworld (February 5).
It’s hard to argue with the success that is Robert Pattinson. The singer finally brought his A-game with U.S.A and it paid off in more ways than one. Not only did the album produce hits (“Sober,” “Better Than Never,” “The Other Side,” and more), but it established Pattinson as a legitimate force in the music industry. As well as a solo artist, he’s also the front man for the British band, Pattinson, which has released two albums and toured the world, selling out stadiums and bringing their unique brand of alternative rock to everyone.