When people listen to you, don't you know it means a lot?
'Cause you've got to work so hard for everything you've got
Can't rest on your laurels now
Not when you've got none
You'll find yourself in a gutter
Right back where you came from

Someone told me being in the know is the main thing
We all need the security that belonging brings
Can't stand on your own in these times
Against all the odds
You'll just fall behind like all the other sods

You slap our backs and pretend you knew about
All the things that we were gonna do
What ya gonna do, what ya gonna do
When it's over?

You're on your own now, don't you think that it's a shame?
But you're the only one responsible to take the blame
So what ya gonna do when the novelty has gone?
Yeah, what ya gonna do when the novelty has gone?

You slap our backs and pretend you knew about
All the things we were gonna do
What ya gonna do, what ya gonna do
When it's over?

Lyrics submitted by Brutin

Novelty Lyrics as written by Ian Kevin Curtis Bernard Sumner

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Novelty song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commenti remember reading somewhere that this song was written about the 1970's punk scene coming to an end. basically all these kids who were into the punk scene were just following along in order to belong to the group hence the lines "Someone told me being in the know is the main thing. We all need the security that belonging brings" To me, it's about realizing that going along with the group just to fit in is never worth it and eventually the "Novelty" will wear off.
    blb1984on June 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow come no-one's commented on this song yet, it's fabulous. Anyway, I'm guessing it's about being famous and how it could all be over pretty soon.
    Brutinon May 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the music and "chorus" -whatcha gonna do when it's over, whatcha gonna do when the novelty is gone?- more than the whole lyric on paper. I like the punky feel of it.

    Reading the whole song is different than when I've listened to it. Like other things I had my own idea/impression independent of the actual thing (in this case lyrics) and it's different. My idea impression before reading the lyrics... was confronting some neophyte about what will happen "tomorrow" or in the long run. It was criticizing/sneering at the aesthetes or even him sneering at himself.
    coo2kachooon April 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like all three versions, the first version is my favorite though. It had alot of different lyrics that affected my life very personaly.
    Bliss Freakon December 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the songs really about his affair and how the novelty of cheating on his wife wore off and now he has to face the consequence of violating her trust the person who he had the affair with might have been a mutual friend hence the line "You slap our backs and pretend you knew About all the things that we were gonna do" and now he's the only one to blame for it all
    children on stunon February 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentChildren On Stun, I think he wrote this before his affair with Annik
    House_Of_Dollson May 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt was written as far back at 77 so he didn't meet Annik by them.
    IanSchultzon August 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmmm, the guitar in this song is awesome.
    Italion March 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a message to the punk rock movement, the words Ian directly addressing people in his audience, and his distaste with the guys in spiked leather who would spit on him from the crowd.
    GOPon September 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read somewhere that Joy Division never intended their songs to have a unique interpretation.

    I think this song is full of bitterness and irony.

    At first I thought it was a critique against the injustice, cruelty and craziness of a life lived by the rules of mainstream, conventional society and the system, a subject he also touches in Candidate ("We're living by your rules, that's all that we know."), in my opinion.

    But the world "novelty" does not really fit. I agree it must refer to the punk movement (explosion) of his time and the novel tactics it used (situationism) to make itself heard. I think he was predicting quite justly that it would lose its power, once the novelty had passed, and would be alienated from its purpose by the consumerist system. Which it did, punk is widely considered just a music genre today focusing on its superficial characteristic, while its revolutionary and political content has faded.

    So my (possible wrong) opinion is that he is describing the evolution of the punk movement, both with sympathy and criticism, and its reception and eventual defeat by mainstream society.

    Definitely he's criticizing the idea of compromising your ideals to become part of a group for the safety it brings, I read these parts as completely sarcastic.

    This is fast turning into one of my favorite songs.
    panaykon February 21, 2012   Link

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