New Order’s “Regret” Lyrics Meaning

New Order’s “Regret” is said to be about the challenges that come along with being a celebrity, particularly in terms of said person finding it difficult to function like a normal human being.

Verse 1

In the first verse, the singer seems to come off as if losing touch of ‘everyone he’s ever known’ isn’t that much of a big deal. Or the way the scenario is presented is that some people may be offended that he no longer communicates with them. However, he admits that this is ‘nothing he regrets’. And considering that we know this track is premised as stated above, we can also conclude that the reason he is no longer in direct contact with these individuals is in some way, shape or form related to him blowing up.

Verse 2

Now whereas the first verse may come off as if he is addressing say someone he knew before making it big, the second verse is apparently directed at a certain segment of his fandom. But the sentiment is more or less the same.  What the singer is telling this individual(s) is that he is not privy on getting too close to people he doesn’t know. And he realizes that some may try to diss him for conducting himself so. However, he then alludes to the idea that they can’t judge him. And why? Because the life he lives is completely different from their own.

Primary Sentiment of “Regret”

But that being said, the ultimate sentiment expressed is not one whereas the singer is touting his celebrity status or is criticizing other people per se.  Rather he too desires a normal life. And by a normal life, he’s talking about one in which he could “have a conversation on the telephone” and “wake up every day”. These statements of course are not meant to be taken literally.  Instead what they obviously allude to, all things considered, is once again the singer being unable to partake in standard routines, as his lifestyle does not afford him such. Moreover in terms of his fandom, he acknowledges that these are people he actually does not know, even if they do know him.


So conclusively, perhaps the narrator can be viewed by some as coming off as smug on this track. He understands that certain people would like to be close to him but then goes on to basically say that the feeling is not mutual. But focusing on his conceit misses the ultimate message of the tune. And such is that his alienation is a direct result of his celebrity. And being that the people he may offend by such actions are not celebrities themselves, they cannot empathize with the negative interpersonal and even internal effects of being a star which compels him to behave in such a manner.

Lyrics of "Regret"

Facts about “Regret”

“Regret” came out on 5 April 1993 as the lead single from New Order’s sixth-studio album. The band titled that album “Republic”. And the label that put the song out is London Records.

“Regret” was written by New Order members along with songwriter/producer Stephen Hague.

The band also co-produced the track as a singular entity, in conjunction with Hague.

New Order performed this song live for the long-standing British music show “Top of the Pops” in 1993. However, instead of doing so in a studio they actually filmed the performance in California on the set of “Baywatch”, with the series’ star, David Hasselhoff, even making a cameo appearance.

“Regret” topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs and Dance Club Songs charts.  It also broke the top 40 of the Hot 100 itself.

In New Order’s native country the song peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart. And outside of the US and UK, it also charted in eight other nations. Indeed “Regret” is considered to be the last true hit of the band’s heyday.

Leave a Reply

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

You may also like...