Meaning of “Porcelain” by Moby

In terms of its lyrical composition, “Porcelain” is a terse song but tells an intriguing albeit somewhat-shrouded story. In the song, Moby is experiencing a breakup from his partner. And although the singular reason is never pointed out in the song, there are a number of issues mentioned that could have caused this. For instance, he seems to suffer from a personality disorder, whereas he finds it difficult to think uniformly. Additionally he more or less admits that he “hurt” her in the past. Moreover his ‘jealous dreams’ are, in layman’s terms, driving him out of his mind.  

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Moby's Porcelain at

But none of these are actually the cause. Instead the real issue is expressed in the bridge, where he implores his partner to “tell the truth, you’ve never wanted me.” Or as Moby has stated, this song was inspired by a real-life situation he went through while he was dating someone who he “had no business being romantically involved” with.

As such, more than anything, the singer in this track seems to be coming to the realization that he is with someone who does not actually desire him (and also vice versa). And as for the title of the song, it probably alludes to his fragile mental state as mentioned earlier.

Lyrics of "Porcelain"

Facts about “Porcelain”

Moby recorded this track in his apartment in the Little Italy section of Manhattan.

“Porcelain” was released as the sixth single from his album Play on 17 May 1999. The labels behind its release are Mute Records and V2 Records.

Moby was not too fond of “Porcelain” when he first recorded it and in fact “had to be talked into including it” on his album. It has since not only become the most-acclaimed song on Play but also perhaps of his entire career. 

Moby named his 2016 bestselling memoir (“Porcelain: A Memoir”) after this song.

The production of “Porcelain” was handled by Moby alone. However, Moby shares the writing credits with a songwriter named Ernest Gold.

Moby originally wrote “Porcelain” in New York in 1998. According to him, the song was came about after “the end of a really sad relationship. Not a bad relationship. Not a tragic relationship. Nothing too dramatic. But just one of those relationships that has a sort of like an ineffable sadness to it.

Certification and Chart Performance

“Porcelain” charted in a number of countries, achieving its highest position (number 2) in Belgium and on the UK Indie Chart. Meanwhile on the general UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number 5.

Moreover this song has been certified gold in Italy and silver in the United Kingdom.

Has “Porcelain” been sampled?

Yes. This song was ‘heavily sampled’ by rapper A$AP Rocky on his 2018 hit song “A$AP Forever”. According to Rocky, Moby is one of his favorite artists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...