College Countdown: KROQ-FM’s Top 40 Songs of 1987, 10 and 9

10. “Never Let Me Down Again” by Depeche Mode
The second single from Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses, “Never Let Me Down Again,” was the a fairly weak performer, by some measures anyway, compared to the other tracks released in the first wave of the album’s promotion. Of the first three singles, for example, it was the lowest charter on the U.K. charts and the only one that didn’t manage a Top 5 showing on the U.S. Dance charts (lead single “Strangelove” even managed to top that particular chart for two weeks). Nonetheless, it was one of those songs that connected with the deeper fan base, with the band quickly determining that was the perfect track to close shows in the late eighties. While it seems the consensus had solidified around the theory that the song’s lyrics are about drugs, there was just enough mystery at the time to inspire rampant speculation, including the Village Voice huffing at one point that the track was a metaphor for gay sex (while the Village Voice, of all publications, would condemn the song for that is beyond me). Mojo magazine also notes that the song’s coda includes a “coy tribute” to Soft Cell’s “Torch.” This is the second of three Depeche Mode songs on the countdown.



9. “With or Without You” by U2
The first single from The Joshua Tree made it clear that U2 was about to rise to a significant new level. It was far and away the band’s biggest hit to that point, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in the late spring, and it was unavoidable. According to Bono, the lyrics were inspired by his own conflicting feelings about balancing life in a rock band with the desire to be more present for his domestic responsibilities (he’d married Alison Stewart in 1982; the couple’s first child arrived in 1989, so it’s entirely possible that the good Irish Catholic boy was thinking about starting a family when he was tinkering with the song). It evidently took a long time to get from conception to the finished product, with the band regularly considering the abandonment of the track when they couldn’t develop an acceptable approach to it, and it was only once Bono sought ideas on the arrangement from his friend Gavin Friday that it first began to fall into place. Now, of course, it’s one of the songs that absolutely defines U2, thanks in no small part to the ever so serious music video. This is the fourth of four U2 songs on the countdown.


Previously…
An Introduction
40 and 39: “4th of July” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”
38 and 37: “Heartbreak Beat” and “Not My Slave”
36 and 35: “Alone Again Or” and “Absolute Perfection”
34 and 33: “Love Removal Machine” and “The Passenger”
32 and 31: “It’s Still Warm” and “Hourglass”
30 and 29: “Alex Chilton” and “We Care a Lot”
28 and 27: “Crazy” and “It’s a Sin”
26 and 25: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Rules and Regulations”
24 and 23: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and “Twenty Killer Hurts”
22 and 21: “We Close Our Eyes” and “Please”
20 and 19: “Rain in the Summertime” and “Behind the Wheel”
18 and 17: “The Sweetest Thing” and “Rent”
16 and 15: “Is It Really So Strange?” and “The Motion of Love”
14 and 13: “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “No New Tale to Tell”
12 and 11: “A Hazy Shade of Winter” and “The One I Love”

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