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