Such A Good Thing < Vietnam > Soundtrack

Vietnam is an amazingly faithful rendition of Jimmy Cliff’s original 1969 anti-war song, and a welcome addition to the canon of covers by New Order; this one being offered up by the band to help the important War Child cause.

An absolute highlight for me is Dawn Zee’s lovely backing vocal performance, which counters Bernard’s perfectly, and both of which honour the original with style and class. Stephen Morris nails the dancehall groove, and Hooky gives good melody. It’s a perfectly fine production.

I can’t help but slot Vietnam alongside Love Vigilantes (and even We All Stand) in a small but notable selection of war-themed songs from our beloved band. Generationally the guys would have been children / teens during the Vietnam War, and although Great Britain weren’t direct combatants in the conflict I suspect the evening news of the ’60s and ’70s (or in Stephen’s case Doctor Who) would have impacted our thoughtful future artists; and we know that the spectre of World War Two remained in plain sight throughout Manchester for a long time. Bernard’s youngest memories of a still-scarred Salford, and the war efforts of his grandfather and great-grandfather are well-documented in his autobiography.

Respect to New Order for contributing to the good cause; something they have done on more than a few occasions over the years – usually without fuss and fanfare, which makes such gestures all the more admirable.

Rating: xxxio

Most recently available on: War Child, From Help To Heroes

In the absence of an official Spotify link,
click the icon above to listen to Vietnam.

8 thoughts on “Vietnam

  1. remarkably positive remarks…..

    If it had been recorded in 1972, by another band, I would have liked it. (I never heard Jimmy Cliff’s original). But hearing this song just annoyed me. There had been precious few Great New Order moments on Get Ready and WFTSC. Hearing this just made me feel that my favorite band was no longer.

    and later comes (sigh) Lost Sirens (which could have remained LOST in my book)….I still cant believe I payed money for it.

    I WILL grant you that Dawn Zee does her usual best. awesome. And I like Barneys vocal style in the song….he sounds relaxed, and like he’s (shudder) having fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Over the years I’ve wondered if the songs I love by new order are given some kind of free pass to enjoyment in my soul, just because they are by new order. But Vietnam makes me realise that my admiration is genuine because I can’t stand this track. I tried, but I can’t even get to the end of it before I’ve either turned it off switched off myself. If you line up all of new order’s catalogue and say there is one track you can never hear again, it would be an easy choice for me: good mourning, Vietnam.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just heard this song for the first time. I didn’t even know it existed. And I’ve never heard the original.

    It sounds very much of the time it was made, 2003 NO. Hooky’s bass is very sunny-sounding, anti-plangent. I sort of like it! I can totally see the parallels to Love Vigilantes, because they’re both anti-war songs with a ridiculously happy melody.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Sort of like it’ is how I feel. It’s not as bad as RTS, JS, WO, DC and others which I feel strongly about. This one is a cover of a 60s song and as such its a faithful cover of a song from a time period I don’t culturally connect with (other than being born then – it was a very good year).

      I rate the song for 2 reasons out of 3: performance quality and cause. The song itself is what it is…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m fine with the cover, I don’t skip it when it pops up on my random playlist, but….
    growing up in the States in the 70s/80s the Baby Boomers and their music were suffocating– self congratulatory “we stopped the war” all the time and worshipping every post-Beatles project like Christ had deigned to touch their garments, mocking names of the bands we liked, dissing synths and haircuts etc. One of the huge appeals for me of New Wave (and punk and alternative) was its repudiation of the flabby guitar rock and ignoring everything that came before them – or so it seemed to me then. I know that isn’t true, everyone has influences, and I’m sure Bernard spun plenty of Doobie Brothers on his turntable in his younger years – and if I’m honest I’ve softened to all music that myself. But this cover and his brief period of looking back to 70s-style music (which a lot of BL sounds to me) is a disappointment to me for that. Bernard often said he hates looking back, he always wants to be looking forward. I’m glad the looking back here didn’t last long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, LOST SIREN! I was an adolescent in the early 70’s and went to EVERY live ROCK concert that came thru Pittsburgh. By 77 I was done with it……and then, thank god there was Punk and NewWave, and finally ’83 was here and we finally had Blue Monday. And just a few minutes later, Barney was singing to us: “Ive heard it all before, I’ve heard it all before, I cant hear it anymore…” In certain respects, I’m hypocritical, because really, all rock music is so similar in many respects. So be it. for some reason, I still dont want to hear any flabby early ’70 rock, I cant sit thru most of it, and I cant sit thru this song.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Back in 2003 I remember beng quite chuffed that I was aware of (and owned) this. The internet wasn’t what it is now, and it felt like a semi-exclusive NO recording for those of us in the know. Even now I can only find one Youtube upload of this cover version. In terms of covers of this song, I caught Paul Simon at his 2011 itunes gig at London’s Roundhouse where he did a great cover of this, and it worked nicely with Simon’s own Mother & Child Reunion. Listening to NO’s version now, it’s not brilliant and I wouldn’t want them to eat up valuable “NO song time” playing it live. But it did broaden my NO-influenced musical knowledge (almost like an addition to Back To Mine that came out a year earlier), and it made me aware of Jimmy Cliff’s original – which is undoubtedly the best.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s