New Order’s “True Faith” Lyrics Meaning

Although one of the co-writers of New Order’s “True Faith”, Peter Hook, has denied such and even though its lyrics are very-metaphorically at points, it is clear that this is a song about drug addiction. This conclusion is supported by Bernard Sumner, who appears to be the primary writer of the song. In fact there was originally a direct reference to drug usage, which the band omitted to give the track more of a mass appeal.

The title of the song does not appear within its lyrics. So it is a bit-challenging to point to the specific part of the track which it alludes to. Though the most-logical conclusion would be the singer’s “True Faith” is actually in drugs, as he refers to them as being “(his) morning sun”.

There are two primary sentiments expressed throughout. One is the “certain sense of liberty” the singer feels when he partakes of these substances. And while on the surface this may sound like an enviable experience, he presents it as one which makes him “don’t care if (he’s) here tomorrow” and is wrecking the financial side of his life.

The other sentiment is a feeling of awe, if you will, that his life (as well as that of his peers) has turned out this way. Indeed he cannot even perceive where the road will end for them. But, as alluded to earlier, he doesn’t really seem to care.

As with many other classic rock songs, “True Faith” can be interpreted in different ways. However, the truth seems to be that it is a song about drug addiction written primarily by someone who was a witness, not a user himself. And while he does acknowledge that there is a state of euphoria involved, ultimately he presents this vice as a terrible fate indeed.

"True Faith" lyrics

Release Date of “True Faith”

“True Faith” was released as a standalone single (with the track “1963”on its B-side) by Factory Records on 20 July 1987. However, later that year it was featured on New Order’s compilation album (Substance 1987). Furthermore, it subsequently was included in the band’s ‘best of’ collections.

Performance on the Charts

The song peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. This feat marked New Order’s first-ever entry on the Hot 100. The song even performed better across the pond, reaching number 4 on their native UK Singles Chart. It also managed to reach the top 10 in the following countries:

  •  Australia
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • West Germany

Who wrote “True Faith”?

“True Faith” was written and produced by the members of New Order and record producer Stephen Hague. Thus the song’s official writing and production credits are as follows:

  • Bernard Sumner
  • Stephen Morris
  • Peter Hook
  • Gillian Gilbert
  • Stephen Hague

FYI, “True Faith” served as the first collaboration between New Order and Stephen Hague. The latter would go on to work extensively with the band.

“Now that we’ve grown up together….”

There is a certain line in the song which reads “now that we’ve grown up together, they’re afraid of what they see”. But originally the phrase was “now that we’ve grown up together, they’re all taking [expletive] with me”.  As referenced earlier, the phrase was changed at the behest Stephen Hague in order to make “True Faith” more radio-friendly. However when New Order performs the track live, they often resort to its original lyrics.

 “True Faith” in commercials

Renowned fashion company Calvin Klein featured this track on one of their commercials in early 2019.

13 Responses

  1. TLC says:

    After endless disillusionment for many of us thru the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond, I think we interpret ‘True Faith’ to mean whatever it is that we “need” to make sense of all “the noise”. Thank you, New Order.

  2. Brian says:

    This is sad to read for me because the song was actually an inspiration of hope when I was in hard times.

    Depending on the morning sun is a connection with nature. “I don’t care cause I’m not there” to me meant leaving trauma behind.

    Bringing mear to the childhood lost, replaced by fear reads to me as a restoration of innocence.

    Not knowing where we are going but trusting it anyway is also an expression of faith.

    I suppose all of this could have been a dark read, but that would also mean the title itself was cynically ironic, as reliance on drugs isn’t true faith.

    In any case, that’s how I interpreted it when coming out of a dark period and it really helped me to heal.

  3. Raven says:

    I love the song, but even in the 80s, this seemed to have an ominous feel to it, the dread of the future…which we are in now…..the illusion and fantasy of life, now the controllers remove the curtains and we see the abomination unfold…..

  4. J says:

    I never thought it was about drug addiction. For me personally, the only emotion I remember having when I was a child, from like age 4 to Jr. yr. in HS was fear. And prior to age 4, I can recall being happy all the time especially on sunny days. So when I 1st read “my morning sun is the drug that brings me near, to the childhood I lost replaced by fear”. I was (and still am) moved because I related to that line so literally & completely. In HS, to escape the fear, I found happiness acting in theater, And then I learned what alcohol & drugs were able to do for me until I sobered up at age 31….Sorry for the length of this. This song continues to open memories in my mind & I learn more about myself. I just turned 63 & thanks to this tune, I’m starting to realize what I’m all about. THANK you New Order for the mental & emotional therapy!!!

  5. Ruby says:

    Lol the idea that this song is just about drug use is so one dimensional. They literally state “the sun is a drug”.. and you think this means it literally?? Lol this is going to mean different things to different people but it’s definitely about holding on too tightly to safety and security, whether that means addiction, a steady job, love, or even just an old way of thinking.. and realizing that you can let go of the need to be completely “safe”, your life no longer depends on pure security. You can experience true freedom and liberty if you have true faith (that it will be okay no matter what).

  6. Anthony Miller says:

    “when I was a very small boy
    Very small boys talked to me
    Now that we’ve grown up together
    They’re afraid of what they see”

    I thought at the time it was about homosexuality being taboo in the 80s and 90s

  7. AwA says:

    To @Brian who wrote about the text being of hope. You’re not the only one who the song helped, I as well thought the same. ❤️

    Other than that, one of the greatest songs ever written. Text about drugs or text about hope. We all read into the text, what we nee to hear and want to hear…

  8. I?NO says:

    This song gave me hope as a child growing up with a sibling I knew was in the closet.

    He wasn’t allowed to be himself during the time and place we lived in (80’s-90’s rural mid-west).

    The fear we had that someone from our small town might hurt him especially without consequence before he was free to leave and be himself always loomed over the family.

    He graduated high school, became of age, and left to a big city where you could be gay and have a community.

    It wasn’t easy for him and a lot of people at the time turned their back on him, “they’re afraid of what they see” but he’s alive and thriving today.

    He use to tell me as kids that he was afraid to die before he got to live “I use to think that the day would never come” he use to tell me he loved the nightlife but he was afraid that someone might hurt him “that my life would depend on the morning sun”

    So the song that use to give me hope for my loved one is now an anthem of joy and happiness for me as an adult.?

    Sorry to wax on, but I ultimately interpreted this song has a gay man in the closet who dreamed of a life where he could be free and now he lives the life he dreamed of and is giving a message of encouragement to others that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and to keep pushing forward in life because you are worthy of it all.

  9. Daniel says:

    I love all your I interpretations and how the wind means so much for everyone. I came here to see what the lyrics actually mean vs what I think they mean. And it turns out it’s ok to stick to my own interpretation. Which is closer to those that feel connection to their childhood again. For me it’s about keeping your inner child, and your sense of openness towards the world.

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