Never Let Me Down Again

Album: Music For The Masses (1987)
Charted: 22 63


  • Written by Martin Gore with lead vocals by Dave Gahan, "Never Let Me Down Again" is one of the most ambiguous Depeche Mode songs. It is often believed to be about drugs, which offer both comfort and excitement to the singer. When Gahan sings, "We're flying high, we're watching the world pass us by," that indicates getting high on drugs, but the song could also have a much more literal meaning about taking an airplane ride with a friend.

    It gets even more confusing near the end of the song, with the lines:

    Promises me I'm safe as houses
    As long as I remember who's wearing the trousers

    Someone or something is making sure he knows his place.

    Another possibility is that the song is about (possibly gay) sex. Leaving it open for interpretation was likely Gore's intention.
  • The band brought in Anton Corbijn to do the visuals for the Music For The Masses album, including the photos and the videos. For this song, he put together an 8-minute black-and-white clip for the 12-inch single version, which was cut down to 4:23 for the single version. The video, which was included on the Depeche Mode compilation Strange, didn't shed any light on the meaning of the song, as we see a series of rather disjointed images, including a pair of shoes that walk themselves.

Comments: 13

  • AnonymousHuge depeche fan. Even from the late 80s. This is just the perfect release song when I throw a buzz. Nothing better
  • AnonymousGod is his best friend. As many of you know there are a lot of spiritual or religious elements to Martin's writing, and that is plain as day in this song. Those truly have faith in something bigger than themselves, like a higher power, or who live by spiritual principles should be able to hear this pretty easily.
    If you have faith you are never alone, your god, or higher power, etc, etc is always there, is your best friend and takes exactly where you are supposed to be. All you need to do is give up trying to control things and have faith.

    I hope he never let's me down again, it seems is a joke. He may at one point in a place of denial blamed his god for whatever bad thing happened, but by declaring he is taking a ride again means he is again back to letting go and being along for the ride with faith and trust.

    God, or whatever you may call it does not let people down. People let people down by taking back their will and allowing themselves to be driven by their basic instincts and overfilling them.

    I know Martin's writing style very well after all these years, and this is clearly what he is saying. He also would never write a being high or on drugs, he just does not do that.
  • Azog from MordorMy take on it is that in relationship of any kind is better when the "stronger" one is wearing the trousers and take the lead and the other is gladly following and enjoying ride. If there is a power struggle, it leads to disaster. But it only works if the one with trousers is the real leader not just some weak ass wannabe leader.
  • Scottj from Salt Lake City, UtIt's about a gay romance. His boyfriend is driving the car, and the following line also relates to his boyfriend being the dominant partner in the relationship. "Promises me I'm safe as houses. As long as I remember who's wearing the trousers."
  • Jon from LondonWhat Kara from Montreal said.
  • Waseem Afzal from IslamabadCome on guys, the best friend is God himself not drugs: "Promises me I am safe as houses as long as I remember who is wearing the trousers" gives it away!
  • Mimzy from Salem, Ori always thought it was about drunk driving actually. but drugs probably makes more sense.
  • Kara from Montreal, QcThe song is a reference to drug addiction. Although, seeing as it was written by Martin L. Gore, I doubt that is a reference to Dave's addiction to heroin (as stated by Carsten). This song was released in 1987 and Dave's heroin use started in the early 90's
  • Dora from Doha, QatarI love this song!
  • Pete from Peru, NyThis is an incredible many of their songs are. I am pretty sure it is referring to drugs........
  • Carsten from Chicago, IlThis song was written years before Dave's drug problem began.Carsten,Chicago,IL
  • Justin Glass from Crestview, FlI think the drug reference was probably right. Kudos to Jeff. Thankfully, Dave Gahan has sobered up.
  • Rose Marie from Valencia, SpainI just love this song, and will never get sick of it! I went to see Depeche Mode in their "Playing the Angel Tour", in Torrevieja (Spain), it was fantastic!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.