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The Meaning Behind The Song: Plastic by New Order

The Meaning Behind The Song: Plastic by New Order


As a digital nomad who spends a lot of time on the road, my music playlist is one of my most cherished possessions. It keeps me company during long journeys and helps me connect with others when I’m missing home. One song that has left a lasting impression on me is “Plastic” by New Order. It’s an iconic piece from their album Music Complete, released in 2015.


I first stumbled upon this song at a friend’s house during a casual music session. As soon as the electronic-driven beat and psychedelic synths kicked in, I was captivated. The combination of Gilbert’s synths, Sumner’s guitar hooks, and the mesmerizing vocals of Elly Jackson from La Roux created a unique blend that instantly caught my attention.

The Meaning

“Plastic” delves into the complicated emotions surrounding an intense love affair. The lyrics suggest a man who is caught in a toxic relationship, likening his partner’s love to poison, but also acknowledging its allure. He talks about his struggle to break free from this love, but his partner’s hold on him is so strong that he cannot escape. The line “This love is poison, but it’s like gold” perfectly encapsulates the conflicting emotions the protagonist feels.

The chorus emphasizes the contradictory nature of the relationship. The woman is described as “fantastic,” “special,” and “iconic,” yet she refuses the attention and adoration she receives because of her honesty. This creates an interesting dynamic where the woman’s genuineness clashes with the attention she attracts.

The Ultimate Betrayal

In the final verse, the protagonist reveals his ultimate plan. He states that when his partner truly needs him, he will disappear. He compares her love to plastic, artificial and superficial, suggesting that it holds no real value or meaning for him. This cold-hearted decision highlights the depth of his emotional detachment and the ultimate betrayal of the relationship.

An Enduring Piece of Music

“Plastic” is a testament to New Order’s ability to create timeless music. Its catchy beats and thought-provoking lyrics make it a memorable addition to their discography. The combination of electronic elements and new wave guitar hooks gives the song a distinctive sound that is quintessential New Order.

In Conclusion

Listening to “Plastic” by New Order is always a nostalgic experience for me. It reminds me of the importance of being aware of the complexities in relationships and the power they hold over us. This song serves as a reminder to be mindful of the toxic love that may blind us and keep us trapped.

Whether you’re a fan of electronic music, a die-hard New Order enthusiast, or simply exploring new sounds, “Plastic” is worth a listen. It’s a beautifully crafted piece that will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced the tumultuous nature of love.


Written By: Stephen Morris, Phil Cunningham, Bernard Sumner & Gillian Gilbert
Background Vocals: La Roux, Dawn Zee & Denise Johnson
Mixing Engineer: Pete Hoffman & Richard X
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Performed Live As: “Plastic (Live at Alexandra Palace)” by New Order

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