On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again (1987)
” Never Let Me Down Again” is a song by English electronic music band Depeche Mode. It was released as the second single from their sixth studio album, Music for the Masses (1987), on 24 August 1987. It reached No. 22 in the UK, No.
We’re heading back to the UK today, dear reader, and to Basildon in Essex. We are catching up once more with Depeche Mode who first appeared in 1983 with Everything Counts. By that point the group were already developing their style and not being necessarily as pop friendly with their material. It’s now 1987 and the group’s sixth album, Music for the Masses, has been released. 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Never Let Me Down Again.
Never Let Me Down Again opens with singer, Dave Gahan, talking about travelling with his best friend and hoping he is not going to be let down. They journey together, experiencing highs along the way, but this friend is clearly in charge and dictating what happens. The song has popularly been interpreted as being a metaphor for drug use with the friend in question here being the drug itself, inflicting ups and downs on the narrator and they are at its mercy, as is often the case with addiction. The song has also been considered to be potentially about a gay relationship but the drug theme seems most plausible here.
Never Let Me Down Again is darker and more haunting than Everything Counts, further evidence of how Depeche Mode were evolving but still remaining quintessentially Depeche Mode. The ambiguity to this track adds to its appeal and I had not considered the drug angle before but it does seem apt, though songwriter Martin Gore rarely gives anything away with his compositions. This is one of many highlights in the group’s back catalogue, beautifully atmospheric and intriguing.
Favourite songs so far: