Late-Night TV Music | April 7, 2020

Michael Stipe takes the self-isolation video to the next level with his performance.

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Trust Michael Stipe to raise the bar. And to do it with style. The former R.E.M. frontman took the nascent medium of solo home-performance video to the next level during his artful, moving appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night. Partly because he (or someone else) clearly made sure his (or someone else’s) room matched his shirt (or vice versa) — and partly because his song No Time For Love Like Now is a beautiful, perfect expression of what we’re all feeling these days. When MTV hands out the inaugural COVIDEO Awards next year, expect this one to be in the running. Next to that, the rest of Tuesday’s performances pale somewhat by comparison. That’s no slight on The Avett Brothers, who delivered a casually Dylanesque version of C Sections and Railway Trestles from their own porch for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And it’s certainly not a dig at singer-songwriter Sam Fischer, who made a strong debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live with his cut This City, even though he did not perform on his porch. But let’s be honest: Stipe’s stirring, striking appearance is everything you need right now. It may not be the end of the world, but he’ll help you feel fine anyway.