To Build a Home

Jump to navigation Jump to search
"To Build a Home"
The Cinematic Orchestra - To Build a Home cover art.jpg
Single by The Cinematic Orchestra featuring Patrick Watson
from the album Ma Fleur
  • Grey Reverend Version
  • "Child Song"
Released29 October 2007
GenreChamber pop
  • Phil France
  • Jason Swinscoe
  • Patrick Watson
Producer(s)Jason Swinscoe
The Cinematic Orchestra singles chronology
"Man with the Movie Camera"
"To Build a Home"

"To Build a Home" is a song by English electronic music group The Cinematic Orchestra, with vocals and piano performed by Canadian singer-songwriter Patrick Watson. It was released as the second single from the group's third studio album, Ma Fleur (2007), on 29 October 2007. The song's music video was notable for including themes of euthanasia[citation needed] in a short narrative film that also included the song ‘Breathe’, and ran to over 12 minutes. Shot on location in Cumbria, the video was premiered on Channel Four, featuring the actors Peter Mullan and Julia Ford, and directed by animator Andrew Griffin. In 2015, the song peaked at number 96 on the French Singles Chart.[1]


"To Build a Home" is a piano ballad[2] that serves as the opening track to its companion album, Ma Fleur,[3] though it serves as the closing track on the Domino-released versions of the album.[4] It features vocals from Canadian singer-songwriter Patrick Watson, who also has writing credits on the song alongside Phil France and Jason Swinscoe of the Cinematic Orchestra. Watson also performed piano for the song.[5] The instrumental begins with about three to four piano chords looped,[6] building up to a more loud and grand point, introducing strings. During this portion of the instrumental, Watson sings over both the piano and strings, eventually climaxing with falsetto vocals.[3] Lyrically, the song deals with Watson wanting to create a house for him and his lover. What happens with the house is unknown, resulting it to be merely metaphorical in place of a resting place for the two.[7]

Release and reception[edit]

The song was first released on 29 October 2007 as a 7" vinyl single by Ninja Tune in the United Kingdom. It was backed with a cover version of the song performed by Grey Reverend.[8] A 7" single was also released in the U.S. by the Domino Recording Company's U.S. division, which was backed with "Child Song".[9]

"To Build a Home" had a positive reception from music critics. Critics often saw Watson's vocal performance as a highlight on the song. For The Observer, Stuart Nicholson wrote that "Swinscoe transforms three- and four-chord vamps into something special."[6] Drowned in Sound's Shain Shapiro regarded the vocals as "bellowing [and] haunting", while Tyler Fisher of Sputnikmusic noted that Watson "nearly steals the show".[3] Maggie Fremont of Vulture called it "one of the most emotional songs ever performed."[10]

"To Build a Home" has been used in several different TV shows, movies, and adverts, including Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy,[11] Criminal Minds, Suits (Season 2, Episode 5), Friday Night Lights, Orange Is the New Black, This Is Us, 9-1-1,[12] Schitts Creek and The Gifted. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, figure skaters Julian Yee and Dmitri Aliev used the song in their respective performances.[13] In December 2017 the song was used in a Christmas-themed TV advert for the Dutch supermarket chain PLUS. It was reported in November 2016 that the song had been streamed over 60 million times,[14] and by 2019 had over 200 million streams on Spotify alone.

The song was used by Sky Sports in their closing montage of the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final where Chelsea FC famously beat Bayern Munich to record their first European title.

Track listing[edit]

Side A
1."To Build a Home" 
Side B
1."To Build a Home" (Grey Reverend Version) 
Side A
1."To Build a Home" (edit) 
Side B
1."Child Song" 


Personnel adapted from Ma Fleur liner notes.[5]


Chart (2012–2013) Peak
France (SNEP)[1] 96


  1. ^ a b "The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (4 May 2007). "CD: Cinematic Orchestra, Ma Fleur". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Fisher, Tyler (4 June 2007). "The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Ma Fleur : The Cinematic Orchestra". Domino USA. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Ma Fleur (album liner notes). The Cinematic Orchestra. Ninja Tune / Domino. 2007.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ a b Nicholson, Stuart (21 April 2007). "CD: Cinematic Orchestra, Ma Fleur". The Observer. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  7. ^ Shapiro, Shain (4 May 2007). "Album Review: The Cinematic Orchestra – Ma Fleur". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 13 November 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b "To Build a Home (Versions) by the Cinematic Orchestra". Ninja Tune. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  9. ^ a b "To Build a Home : The Cinematic Orchestra". Domino USA. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  10. ^ Fremont, Maggie (13 March 2018). "The Weepiest Moments in This Is Us Season Two, Ranked". Vulture. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Glow in nu-jazz". Delano. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  12. ^ Zellner, Xander (13 February 2018). "The Cinematic Orchestra Rules Top TV Songs Chart for January 2018". Billboard. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  13. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (27 February 2018). "Beth Hart, Ida Corr, Cinematic Orchestra & More Skate to Sales Gains in Final Days of Winter Olympics". Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  14. ^ Richardson, Andy. "Cinematic Orchestra's Jason Swinscoe talks ahead of Birmingham O2 Institute show". Shropshire Star. Retrieved 13 November 2016.

External links[edit]