The Last of Us Episode 1 Song Streams Rise 200% After HBO Premiere

[Warning: this story contains spoilers for The Last of Us Episode 1, "When You're Lost in the Darkness."] On The Last of Us, Depeche Mode's 1987 track "Never Let Me Down Again" signaled trouble. For the Music for the Masses single, the hit HBO post-apocalyptic drama signaled a more than 200% increase in streams after Sunday's series premiere. Behind the Wall of the Boston QZ, smuggler Joel (Pedro Pascal) used Fred Bronson's The Billboard Book of Number One Hits to send coded messages to survivalists Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). But Ellie (Bella Ramsey) cracked their code: a '60s song means "nothing in," '70s is "new stock," and '80s means trouble.

After the live-action adaptation of the acclaimed PlayStation and Naughty Dog video game premiered Sunday — drawing HBO's second-largest debut since 2010, behind only Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon — "Never Let Me Down Again" plays more than tripled in on-demand U.S. streams, according to music sales tracker Luminate (via Billboard). Streams increased by 220.5% overnight, rising from 26,000 on the day of the January 15th premiere to 83,000 on January 16th.

The official Depeche Mode YouTube channel has even updated the music video, which you can watch below, to include the subtitle "(Heard during the HBO series: The Last Of Us)."

"A lot of '80s music is chipper and fun, but with this, I was looking for an up-tempo 80s song that had a darkness to it lyrically... What 'Never Let Me Down Again' is about is 'I'm taking a ride with my best friend'— he was singing about drugs, it was a song about addiction," series co-creator and Episode 1 writer/director Craig Mazin explained on the HBO Last of Us podcast. "Well, Ellie's about to take a ride with her best friend, and Joel is a dangerous man. Joel's about to take a ride with his best friend, he doesn't know she's his best friend yet. She's a dangerous little girl."

Mazin continued: "Now, the point is, you're 'never gonna let me down'? They are gonna let each other down, and then they're not, and then they are, and then they're not. That thought was a really interesting way in."

The Last of Us Episode 1: "When You're Lost in the Darkness" is now streaming. Episode 2: "Infected" premieres Sunday, January 22nd at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT on HBO and HBO Max. Follow for more The Last of Us on ComicBook.