The Last of Us showrunner explains use of Depeche Mode’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ in Episode 1

A still from the video for Depeche Mode's Never Let Me Down Again.Mute

Following the Season 1 premiere of The Last of Us, showrunner Craig Mazin explains why he used Depeche Mode’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ at the end of the episode.

‘Never Let Me Down Again’ is a 1987 single by Depeche Mode. It was the second release from the electronic synth band’s 1987 album ‘Music for the Masses.’

The song reached Number 22 in the UK charts, and hit the Top 10 all over Europe. And thanks to its use in Episode 1 of Season 1 of The Last of Us, it might re-enter the charts, ‘Running Up That Hill‘-style.

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Here The Last of Us showrunner Craig Mazin explains why he chose this specific track for his show.

Why The Last of Us used Depeche Mode’s ‘Never Let Me Down Again’

The Hollywod Reporter told Mazin they thought the song was a good choice, because it hasn’t been overplayed, and feels both “foreboding and darkly comic.”

Mazin responded by saying: “My wife has an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s music, and I was like, ‘OK, Melissa, this is what I need.’ And I literally said all the things you just said.”

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“I need it to be a song that I kind of know but I haven’t heard in a long time. One that hasn’t been beaten to death. And I needed it to have context. I needed to be meaningful. I needed to have be foreboding, and ideally, without being super on the nose, give me a comment. I needed to start a particular way so we can show that radio turning on. And then she was like: ‘Never Let Me Down Again.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.'”

How the song is used in Episode 1

Soon after Ellie meets Joel in Episode 1, she figures out the code being used to communicate, with those in control of the radio playing songs from different decades to mean different things.

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By using ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ as an example, Ellie realizes that a song from the 1980s indicates trouble.

So when ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ starts playing on the radio at the very end of the episode, it means that Ellie and Joel are running into trouble.

What is ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ about?

Depeche Mode’s lead singer Dave Gahan is a recovering heroin addict, and ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ is thought to be about drug use, with that first line “I’m taking a ride with my best friend” very likely a reference to taking drugs.

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That theory is backed up by the later line: “We’re flying high, we’re watching the world pass us by.”

Indeed music journalist Jane Solanas is quoted in Depeche Mode book ‘Stripped’ as saying the song is a “masterpiece” that conveys the feeling of “drug euphoria.”

Read our review of The Last of Us Episode 1 here.

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