Michael Stipe and the National’s Aaron Dessner performed their new song, “No Time for Love Like Now,” for the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday. A collaboration with Big Red Machine, which comprises Dessner and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Stipe cowrote the song with Dessner and revealed a demo version of the song in March.
In the new clip, Stipe and Dessner, who also produced the song, performed the single together publicly for the first time. However, they filmed their parts separately due to current COVID-19 social distancing directives. The blended split screen showcases Stipe in a room with a mic and Dessner on piano. The visual opens with Stipe wearing a mask before he takes it off to sing.
Stipe looks steadfast into the camera before launching into the song. “Where did this all begin to change?/The lockdown memories can’t sustain,” Stipe sings over Dessner’s plaintive piano melody. “This glistening hanging free fall.”
In April, Stipe performed the song on Late Show With Stephen Colbert and it was officially released earlier this month.
“On a whim, I shared a folder of in-progress BRM sketches with Michael last year, and it was exciting when he really gravitated to a few of them,” Dessner told Rolling Stone of the genesis of the collaboration. “Michael wrote the lyrics to ‘No Time for Love Like Now’ last fall, but when the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing and self-isolation descended, they felt like they were written about this time all along and perhaps the message resonates especially now.”