Moby

Porcelain

Song Review by

Crackling noises layered over reversed synth chords at the beginning and end of "Porcelain" illustrate the homegrown nature of this recording; Moby tracked this song, and the rest of Play, in his Little Italy, NY, apartment. Sure, the noises could have been digitally removed, but they add character to this texture-rich song. A laid-back drum-machine pattern and strategically arranged music layers serve as the foundation to "Porcelain." Each verse adds on a new sound pattern -- be it choir-like chants, vocal samples, or a cello line -- and it's this layering technique that lends "Porcelain" its substance and momentum, even though the song is mid-tempo at best. Moby's layering is done ever so subtly that before you know it, the song climaxes and ends by returning to its beginning with the bare chords and crackling sounds. "Porcelain" could almost have been classified as an instrumental piece, however, Moby does sing a simple, but catchy, vocal line that repeats throughout: "I never meant to hurt you/I never meant to lie/So this is good-bye." His delicate and haunting delivery is a perfect complement for the instrumentation, which features ethereal synth washes and celestial piano hooks. What makes "Porcelain" such a groundbreaking recording is that it helped bring electronica music into the limelight. It was so well-received upon its release in 1999 that it enjoyed cross-format radio play and remains a genre-straddling phenomenon. The song was such a runaway hit, in fact, that it was also featured on a number of television commercials and resulted in a Moby media frenzy (the vegan artist was featured in publications from the New York Times to Spin).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Playing by Heart 1999
Original Soundtrack
Capitol / EMI Records 3:53
Play 1999 V2 4:01
The Beach [Original Soundtrack] 2000
Original Soundtrack
Sire 3:58
Play/Play: The B Sides 2000 Downtown
Essential Soundtracks: New Movie Collection 2000
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 4:00
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Orbiting: Beautiful Chill out Grooves 1.0 2000
Various Artists
UBL Recordings / Street Beat Records 4:00
Porcelain 2000 Mute / Import 0:00
Lebersart 2000
Various Artists
Edel Records 4:00
Renaissance Ibiza 2000 Renaissance Records 5:53
Cafe Mambo 2000 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:28
Club 2K, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 4:50
This Is Chilled Trance 2000
Various Artists
BMD (England) 4:02
Trashed in Ibiza 2000
Various Artists
Global TV 4:05
Best Ibiza Anthems...Ever! 2000 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 5:26
Late Night Mix 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:28
Altered States [Ark 21/Bliss] 2000 Bliss Records (Electronica) / ARK 21 4:45
Inside My Head 2000 Max Music & Entertainment / Max 7:11
Film 2000 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:29
Trance to Heaven 2000 Centaur Entertainment 5:42
Plastic Compilation, Vol. 4 2000
Various Artists
Nettwerk America / Nettwerk 6:40
Big Hits 2000 2000
Various Artists
Import 4:01
Pepsi Chart 2001 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
Chilled Ibiza 2000
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:25
Cream Ibiza: Arrivals 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 2:58
Essential Chillout [Cool Division] 2000
Various Artists
Cool Division
Kiss Clublife: Summer 2000 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:02
Le Voyage [RCA] 2000
Various Artists
RCA 3:30
Now That's What I Call Music! 46 [UK] 2000
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:30
Yam! In Love 2001
Various Artists
BMG
Pure Moods, Vol. 3 2001
Various Artists
Virgin 3:31
MTV Extreme 2001
Various Artists
Import 3:42
Winter Chill, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Hed Kandi 4:01
Best of Lounge, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Vegaz 3:57
Sunday Morning [Wea International] 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 3:30
Best Club Anthems 2001 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:57
Chilled Spirit 2001
Various Artists
Warner / ESP / Sire 3:59
Electric Ballroom Presents: Full Tilt, Vol. 3 2001
Various Artists
State of Decay 8:22
Groove Guide Chillin' 2001
Various Artists
Polygram 3:58
Karma Lounge [Echo] 2001
Various Artists
Echo 3:57
Renaissance Ibiza: 2001 Collection 2001 Renaissance Dance 3:38
Chill O2: La Música de Relajación del Futuro 2001
Various Artists
Arcade Music 3:58
Chill Out in Ibiza, Vol. 3 2001
Various Artists
Smart 0:00
Essential Chillout Six-Pack 2001
Various Artists
Beechwood Music 4:02
Sanremo 2001 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:00
Pure Chillout 2002
Various Artists
Virgin 3:31
The Classic Chillout Album [1 Disc] 2002
Various Artists
Epic 3:59
Open Space: The Classic Chillout Album 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Kharma Trilogy 2002
Various Artists
Import 3:58
Electrical Lovers Presents: Chillout Lovers 2002
Various Artists
Toshiba EMI
E. Utopia: Future Sound of Deep Trance 2002
Various Artists
404 Music Group 3:36
Best of Buddha 2002
Various Artists
Bar de Lune 3:55
Best of Buddha [Buddha Lounge] 2002
Various Artists
Bar de Lune
All Songs Considered, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
NPR Recordings / NPR National Public Radio 54:55
10 Years Later with Jools Holland 2002
Various Artists
WEA International
This Is the Best of Euphoric Trance 2002
Various Artists
Beechwood Music 4:03
Absolute Relaxed 2002
Various Artists
Eva 3:24
Bar Lounge Classics, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:31
Best of Euphoric Trance 2003
Various Artists
Best Of Records 4:02
Play/18 2003 EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Pure Chillout Moods 2004
Various Artists
Beechwood Music 4:01
Best of Chillout Past and Present 2004
Various Artists
Nettwerk America / Nettwerk 3:58
No Image 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Screen Cuts 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:32
Zen, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
This Is Techno [Water Music] 2004
Various Artists
Water Music Records 4:48
All Songs Considered: 4 CD Collection 2004
Various Artists
NPR National Public Radio 4:01
Cafe Ibiza, Vol. 4: The Ambient & Chill Out Album 2005
Various Artists
One Way Records 4:00
Cafe Ibiza Collectors Box, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Globe UK 4:00
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Som Livre
Go: The Very Best of Moby 2006 V2 3:30
The Ultimate Bands: The Classic Anthems 2006
Various Artists
EMI / Virgin TV
No Image 2008 Mute
Music from Porcelain 2016 Thrive Records 3:59
Black Lacquer 2017 Caroline / Fool's Gold 3:26
Go: The Very Best of Moby Remixed BMG / Mute 8:36
Love Lounge: The Very Best of Lounge, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Id&T
Nu Rock Traxx, Vol. 14
Various Artists
Erg
Promo Only: Alternative Club (July 2000)
Various Artists
Promo Only
Promo Only: Modern Rock (May 2000)
Various Artists
Promo Only
Q 2000: Best Tracks from the Best Albums of 2000
Various Artists
4:01