In the song’s violet-hued visual, the R.E.M. frontman delivers a vocal take in the studio as he looks back on all the small things society took for granted before the days that words such as “quarantine,” “social distancing” and “coronavirus” became part of the everyday lexicon.
“There’s no time for dancing/ There’s no time for undecideds/ No time for love like now/ Where did this all begin to change/ The lockdown memories can’t sustain/ This glistening, hanging free fall,” he sings over a synth-heavy orchestration led by Justin Vernon and The National‘s Aaron Dessner.
“‘No Time for Love Like Now’ was written last fall, but when the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and self-isolation descended, the words felt like they were written about this time,” R.E.M. shared in an Instagram post about the inspiration behind the track.
Additionally, Stipe and Big Red Machine are selling an exclusive T-shirt and tote designed by them and emblazoned with the single’s title. All proceeds from sales of the merch will go directly to the Equal Justice Initiative and COVID-19 Protest Relief Fund.
The new track arrives on the heels of Stipe’s 2020 solo single, “Drive to the Ocean” as well as his 2019 release “Your Capricious Soul.” Meanwhile, it marks Big Red Machine’s first official follow-up to the band’s 2018 self-titled debut album, which featured standout tracks “Forest Green,” “I Won’t Run From It,” “Gratitude” and more.
Watch the video for “No Time for Love Like Now” below, and read R.E.M.’s complete message.