Never Let Me Down Again

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

  • 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: 17

  • Mimi from MumbaiThis isn't about drugs, as it is before Gahans addiction and Gahan didn't write any of the songs then. Sorry to disappoint y'all, it is about God. Gore writes about religion a lot. Just because Wilder added all those deep melancholic sounds he can make it feel moody and dark, and then Gahans baritone can feel really like it's very macabre, doesn't mean that it makes any sense as a song about drugs. The songs were written first by Gore and then the rest of the Depeche mode style was added to it.

    It makes perfect sense as a spiritual relationship of a man to his God and navigating the highs and lows of life.
  • Depeche Modal from UsaHey, it could be about two men in a relationship, sure, but that seems to be hanging that hat on the lyric "as long as I remember whose wearing the trousers" which seems a bit too obvious for Martin Gore as a song writer (and is married to his second wife). But hey, if you want to believe it's two men in a relationship, that's cool. Don't let anyone tell you what it's about if you like it that way. What's my belief? - - It's about a drug addict who has lost control to hardcore drugs. Who's "wearing the trousers"? In other words, who's in CONTROL? The drugs. Go back and sing it again thinking this is an addict that wants to lose control and stay high forever without coming down and... it. all. makes. sense.
  • Paul from Parisdefinitely about drug use.
  • Nightbird from UsaThis song is about two Gay men in love. The line "Promises me I'm as safe as houses..As long as I remember who's wearing the trousers" should have made that abundantly clear as it is a sexual term. Getting pretty tired of heterosexuals trying to reinterpret Gay art into something non-gay. Stop it already.
  • 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 song....as 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!!
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