The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #339: Love Vigilantes by New Order (KEXP)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #339: Love Vigilantes by New Order.

For those of you who have been faithful readers of these posts, you will remember that as 1980 dawned, one of the biggest bands in the UK was “Joy Division”. Unfortunately, Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, died just before the band was to go on their first North American tour. Rather than continue on as Joy Division or breakup entirely, the remaining bands members formed a new band called New Order that still can be found playing today.

New Order have a sound that can best be described as Synth Pop. For that reason both fans and critics were surprised when the band released “Love Vigilantes” from an album called Low Life in 1985. For this song, New Order eschewed much of their trademark sound and replaced it with guitars and more obscure instruments such as a melodica (which you hear off of the top of the song). The lyrical content of the song was different for the band, too. “Love Vigilantes” is a song about a lonely soldier coming home to see his wife and children while on leave. When he arrives home, he enters the house to find his wife laying on the floor clutching a military telegram informing her that her husband has been killed in action. It is left to the listener to decide what is really going on here: has the wife fainted at the news and he is a ghost watching over her OR, is he very much alive and the telegram was sent in error and his wife has committed suicide? The band has never said anything declarative to settle the mystery, one way or the other.

Despite the gloomy description I just wrote, “Love Vigilantes” is a peppy song. I don’t know about you but I am always on the lookout for good Remembrance Day songs that go beyond “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”. I am happy to add “Love Vigilantes” to my personal list. If there are any unique songs that you like for Remembrance Day, let me know in the comments section below. For now, here is New Order with “Love Vigilantes”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song “Love Vigilantes” by New Order can be found here. ***The lyrics version can be found here.

The link to the official website for New Order can be found here.

Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their official website can be found here.

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