The Architect is the fourth studio album by English recording artist Paloma Faith, released by Sony Music Entertainment on 17 November 2017.
Faith stated, "The Architect is a social observation record. I was adamant that I wouldn't write about love. I wanted to look outside of myself. I'm coming at politics from the perspective of the common man or woman, observing why people are suffering. Each song on the record is about a different pocket of the socio-political world that I've been delving into. I wanted to write something more modern. On previous albums I've been more concerned with the past, but now I'm looking forward because of motherhood and wanting to change things for a better future. It's a marriage of old and new."
The Architect debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling over 40,000 copies, becoming Faith's first UK chart-topping album and pushing Reputation by Taylor Swift from the top spot.
In June 2015, during her Glastonbury Festival performance, Faith confirmed having started the process of creating her fourth studio album. "Now we're going to bring to your attention what I've been listening to a lot when making album number four," she told the crowd, before performing a cover of "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix. In addition to the inspiriation from Hendrix, Faith has also stated she has been listening to "a lot of psychedelic rock", including the likes of Janis Joplin. In another interview Faith stated she is very happy and hasn't "anything to moan about" in her current relationship, which led her to conclude that "there's a lot of things going on in the world that are as important as love". As a result, Faith attempted to write songs which "aren't about love or heartache", something the singer found challenging. In a Facebook post dated 10 June 2016, Faith indicated that the new album would have a full orchestra on part of it, "composed by David Arnold".
On 22 August 2016, in a letter to fans (handwritten by Faith) was posted on her website, announcing that she was pregnant, after spending her "whole life" wanting to be a mother. The "Update" also says that, after working with the "amazing" Jesse Shatkin her fourth album would be entitled "The Architect" and released in 2017. After her maternity break, Faith said she would return "full of energy and excited to come and sing for you again".
Faith released the first single from the album, "Crybaby" on 31 August 2017, in the process announcing the release date, before putting the album up for pre-order on 22 September 2017, along with the tracklisting and album artwork. She also confirmed a collaboration with actor Samuel L. Jackson.
The album's first single was the disco-tinged "Crybaby", written in collaboration with the producer Starsmith. It was made available for streaming and download on 31 August 2017. The song's dystopian-themed music video was directed by Thomas James, and was released on 22 September 2017 alongside the album pre-order and the release of tour dates for Faith's 2018 UK arena tour. The song peaked at number 36 on the UK Singles Chart. On 22 October it was announced that "Guilty" would be the second single. On 24 January, Faith announced through an Instagram post that "'Til I'm Done" would be released the following day as the third single from the recording; this information was later posted on different websites, in which it was stated that the single would impact radio stations on 16 February while a remix EP would be released on 2 February.
If Paloma Faith hadn’t trumpeted The Architect as her “political with a small ‘p’” album, it might sound just like another big, brassy retro soul collection about love and heartache. It’s far from obvious that the swaggering Guilty apparently expresses the thoughts of a regretful Brexit voter (“I’m living in my worst fears / Begging you back through tears”). Samuel L Jackson’s opening monologue about revolution is far more direct than the subsequent title track’s oblique apparent references to domestic violence. Owen Jones’s rousing speech about the politics of hope leads only to the wishy-washy Kings and Queens.
However, there’s plenty of the big-voiced, Amy Winehouse/Lisa Stansfield-type pop that saw Faith’s first three albums go double platinum. The John Legend duet I’ll Be Gentle is trademark classy schmaltz and the Sia-penned Warrior addresses refugees on the vaguest terms. Nobody will storm parliament after hearing this, but Faith’s heart’s in the right place.
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