Most people know the Hollywood star as the handsome and brooding lead singer of the band Snow Patrol, but did you know that he can also sing? Indeed, the Scottish-born, New York-raised songwriter can belt out a tune more expertly than most seasoned crooners, and it’s a talent he’s showcased in his own films. Here are ten songs by Robert Pattinson that you’ve never heard before.
1. ‘Water’ by The Fratellis
‘Water’ is the first single to be taken from The Fratellis’ Grammy-nominated sophomore album, ‘Shotgun.’ To follow-up the success of their debut single, ‘All The Time,’ they deliver an even stronger dose of melancholy with ‘Water.’ The song is essentially about lost love, but there’s also a darker subtext to it: The Fratellis’ guitarist, Joe Kelly, explained to NME that they were inspired by the 2011 Japanese tsunami and nuclear meltdown, and that the tsunami metaphor “really hit home with us.”
The song starts with a quiet, acoustic guitar melody that builds into a glorious, anthemic chorus, complete with harmonies and solos performed by the band members. The lyrics also give the song a darker spin, as singer, Damon Albarn, croons: “I can’t swim, I can’t walk, I can’t drive a car. So, what’s left for me now that the seas are rising?” Kelly elaborated to the same publication, “I think that anyone who is living their life as normally as possible and then, all of a sudden, it’s like the rug is being pulled from underneath your feet, there’s no going back.”
2. ‘Only Myself to Blame’ by The Strokes
‘Only Myself to Blame’ is the third track on The Strokes’ major label debut, ‘Angles.’ The song was inspired by the 2011 New York City mayoral election and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The band co-produced the record with hitmaker Patrick Dodson (who has also worked with Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Kacey Musgraves), and one of the highlights is the epic, anthemic choruses, which are highlighted by guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr.’s ferocious fretwork. The song even received a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Blurption Flash.
3. ‘Losing Myself’ by Pink
‘Losing Myself’ is the first single from Pink’s critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album, ‘Beautiful Trauma.’ The song is both haunting and playful, reflecting the themes present in the groundbreaking title track of the same album: loss and self-reflection. The lyrics also highlight the pop star’s evolution as an artist, as she sings, “Here I am just another pretty face in the crowd/ But I feel so alone without you.”
Like most of her work, ‘Losing Myself’ builds on a solid foundation of drum machines and squelching synths, as she teams up with the influential French producer, Maxime Despont (known for his work with French electronic duo, Alcest). The song is also noted for its use of ‘80s new wave and pop, exemplified by the synths and chugging guitars that evoke The Go-Go’s’ ‘We Got the Beat.’
4. ‘Wishful Thinking’ by Bon Iver
‘Wishful Thinking’ is the fourth track on Bon Iver’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, and it’s a showcase for the 22-year-old singer’s distinctive, baritone voice. The song is a melancholy slice of Americana, with Justin Vernon, the singer/songwriter/artist, crooning, “Sometimes I feel like I’m running away/ From my troubles to find some peace in your embrace.”
The acoustic guitar on this track gently strums and twangs, while Vernon’s vocals soar above the instrumentation. The song was inspired by Vernon’s Canadian upbringing and the stark beauty of the Canadian wilderness. In an interview with the New York Times, Vernon said, “I grew up in a small town in Ontario where there were fewer than 15,000 people. I didn’t see many people walking around, I just saw trees.”
5. ‘Wishful Thinking (Acoustic)’ by Bon Iver
‘Wishful Thinking’ is the fifth track on Bon Iver’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, and it’s an intimate and stunning example of why the album is such a strong piece of work. The song was written and sung by Justin Vernon, and it’s a showcase for his distinctive, baritone voice. The song is a melancholy slice of Americana, with Vernon crooning, “Sometimes I feel like I’m running away/ From my troubles to find some peace in your embrace.”
The acoustic guitar on this track gently strums and twangs, while Vernon’s vocals soar above the instrumentation. It would go on to become one of the singer’s biggest hits, reaching number four on the Billboard Top 100 in 2016.
6. ‘Stay’ by Taylor Swift
‘Stay’ is the sixth track on Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ album. The song was written by Swift along with her pal, Joe Henry, and it’s an ode to domestic bliss. The lyrics tell the story of a night when a man broke a woman’s heart, leaving her with some ‘tweaks’ (Swift’s term for wrinkles and other signs of aging) and an inability to feel the same way about another man.
The song is notable for its use of a viola as a lead instrument and for its string quartet that closes out the track and follows the melody played on the instrument. According to Henry, the viola was used because it was the only stringed instrument he could find in his studio at the time, and Swift thought it sounded “striking and unique.”
7. ‘Homesick’ by Lorde
‘Homesick’ is the seventh track on Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’ album, and it’s one of the most intimate and moving songs the New Zealand-born, London-based singer has ever offered up. The song is an ode to unrequited love, and it’s another example of the incredible chemistry that exists between Lorde and her producer, Frank D’Astier.”
The album opener, ‘Perfect Places,’ is built on a bed of synth strings and Lorde’s vocals, which soar over the instrumentation. It’s an ‘80s-inspired pop masterpiece that has already been covered by Lorde herself, and it’s the perfect lead single. One of the biggest surprises on ‘Melodrama’ is the song’s ‘90s-indebted ‘n’ bounce club vibe, as Lorde teams up with DJ and producer, Skrillex, on this one.
8. ‘Sober’ by Kaleidoscope
‘Sober’ is the eighth track on Kaleidoscope’s sophomore album, ‘In The Land Of Nod,’ and it’s one of the strongest cuts on the record. ‘Sober’ is an ode to self-love, and it was inspired by the Swedish band’s time living in the Land of Nod, a nickname for the band’s native country, due to its similar sounding name. It’s a perfect balance of sunshine and shade, with the track’s breezy guitar licks, psychedelic interiors, and skittering percussion providing the perfect summer backdrop to the lyrics.
9. ‘Rylinksis’ by Alex London
‘Rylinksis’ is the final track on Melbourne-based singer/songwriter, Alex London’s ‘Hymns’ album and it’s an exercise in restraint and simplicity, with the album’s namesake, London, performing with just a piano and his vocals. ‘Rylinksis’ is named after a character in Jack London’s 1907 novel, ‘The Song Of The Loon,’ who could see “the lights of another town” in the sky, which inspired the song’s titular character, London, to imagine such a thing himself, and seek it out with the help of his friends.
It’s a beautiful track, marked by its restrained instrumentation, simple structure, and London’s warm tenor voice, which travels gracefully over the top of the piano.