God is nowhere/God is now here
This statement is the essence of the artistic journey at the heart of Mick Fleetwood’s new single, “These Strange Times.” The song isn’t about God in any conventional way according to the tenets of any particular creed. Rather, God represents the divine, in other words, the idea of something greater than us, which lies at the center of every religious belief in one way or another and is at the core of our very human struggle to be our best selves. “The project is about the energy of choice, of deciding if you want to be a part of the dark or the light when push comes to shove, which seems very apropos at this moment in history,” Fleetwood says.
Inspired by an eighteenth-century painting, the photographical homage included in the album art addresses subtext and language. The phrase “God is nowhere” has been drawn on a blackboard by a devil-disguised Fleetwood, but interpreted by his pupil, an innocent child, as “God is now here.”
“It’s about how you read things, which is very important today,” Fleetwood says. “Everyone needs to be carefully paying attention to the information coming our way. There is subtext to everything and we need to be aware of that. When I first encountered the painting that inspired the song and the photoshoot, it was a soul-searching exercise that I was driven to do but I didn’t know when would be the time to release it. Now I know why: the when is now.”
The spoken-word poem at the center of the song finds the narrator, Fleetwood, questioning his feelings and his thoughts, as he has found himself stuck between the dark and the light, a condition he regards as a living hell. The beautiful video that accompanies the song juxtaposes images from nature evoking light and dark, the best and worst elements of man’s impact on Earth and the legacy we are leaving for future generations. It is as thought provoking as the song is hypnotic, as the lyrics detail the struggle of the narrator, lost and yearning to be in love, as he is led to the light in the end by the angelic voice of a child showing him that God is in fact now here.
“I hope the song conveys that life is about choice,” Fleetwood says. “God is everything, no matter what your belief system is. Being in love is God, no matter your creed. There’s a rejoicing at the end of the song when the narrator chooses the side of the light. The song is about all of us making that choice ourselves and the relief we feel when we are no longer caught in the middle.”
We are caught in strange times indeed, growing stranger and harsher with each passing day. It is a time for looking within to find answers, and to make sense of the world around us. “This is something I wrote many years ago,” Fleetwood says, “and I want it to be nothing more than thought provoking. I want people to see and hear what they will in it. My hope is that by sharing these thought provoking moments in my world that I can somehow open the eyes of others to things in their world and to the existence we all share, which is more and more endangered with each passing day.”