“Love Vigilantes” is a song by the English band New Order. Here it is performed live by Peter Hook in Philadelphia, 2014.
It first appeared as the opening track of their 1985 album Low-Life. The song is a departure from New Order’s usual style in many ways. Described by allmusic.com as “at its core a campfire singalong”, “Love Vigilantes” is decidedly pop and shows inspiration from American country and folk music. In a 2014 list compiled by The Guardian, “Love Vigilantes” was ranked ninth in a list of the ten best New Order songs.
According to Bernard Sumner, “Love Vigilantes” is one of the few songs for which he started out wanting to tell a story rather than his usual method of listening to a newly composed piece and writing lyrics to match the mood of the music. Having “decided to write a Redneck song”, Sumner’s lyrics tell a rather “tongue-in-cheek” tale of a soldier returning home from Vietnam only to find that his wife had received a telegram informing her that he had died. Sumner further relates that the ending is open to interpretation. Either the soldier had actually died and returns as a ghost or the telegram was sent mistakenly and he is quite alive. Either way, he finds her lying on the floor having committed suicide with the telegram in her hand, an ending Sumner describes as “a very country tragedy”.
The subject of the song is close to the one of “Vietnam”, the 1969 Jimmy Cliff standard covered by New Order in 2003 for War Child’s Hope album.
There was also some photography taken at this show.