"I am a singer and a songwriter but I am also a father, four times over. I am a friend to dogs. I am a sworn enemy of the saccharine; and a believer in grace over karma. I talk too much when I'm drunk and sometimes even when I'm not."
-- Bono, 2001 Harvard graduation speech
Bits & Bytes
A collection of the latest U2 news and announcements posted by our staff.
Bono called into KROQ's Kevin & Bean show this morning to talk about Songs Of Innocence and how thngs have gone since last week's launch. Bono said that he hopes to do a live acoustic session in the KROQ studios in the near future. He said "We have some stuff up our sleeves about playing live and we are coming your way next year and maybe before that if we can cook up something. I want to play some of them acoustically ... I want people to just listen to the tunes and I think the best way to do that is to do some acoustic sessions."
U2's concert schedule is officially empty right now, but recent comments from U2 manager Guy Oseary suggest that might change soon. Meanwhile, Bono is saying U2 will do a full tour beginning in 2015. More on that in a moment; first, let's look at what the new manager said.
Speaking to Mashable in an interview published late Sunday, Guy Oseary didn't give away any details about upcoming performances, but he seems to be suggesting that U2 is planning at least a few gigs to help promote Songs Of Innocence:
I think we've done enough disruption for a minute. We plan on continuing to support this album. We have the deluxe version coming Oct. 14. We also want to share this album with people from a live perspective, playing songs here and there for an audience.
With the physical album being released on October 13/14, it's possible that U2 could do a show around that time and maybe others throughout the holiday shopping season. It's also possible they might not do full U2 concerts, but something more like performances on Saturday Night Live and other things like that.
As for a proper U2 tour, Bono tells the Irish Times that'll happen in 2015:
We don't have a firm start date for the next U2 tour, but it will be next year. We need good ideas to go back out there live. Expect something new, something fresh.
U2's former manager, Paul McGuinness, recently told Hot Press the same thing about a U2 tour happening in 2015.
Billboard posted today an interview with Guy Oseary, U2's manager. It's a long interview, in which he talks mainly about the launch of Songs Of Innocence on Tuesday at the Apple event.
It's worth to highlight what he says about the new songs that will be part of the album, which will be released on Oct. 14.
"There's four brand-new songs, and Gary Kelly [Interscope's head of retail sales] can tell you there's a bunch of acoustic versions of songs from the album, too. So it's probably gonna be anywhere between nine or 11 songs that were not on the standard."
Oseary was questioned if we could expect another deal from Apple and U2 in the future. He says:
"We're working on other things as well with Apple that have to do with how music is heard and innovation, with [iTunes VP of content] Robert Kondrk leading that charge. There's a lot of things still to come that are really interesting. The band really wants people to engage with albums, they want them to support the art form of artwork and lyrics and video content and just get into their music in a much different way than an MP3 file. This is a long relationship."
Paul McGuinness isn't U2's day-to-day manager anymore, but he still likely knows plenty about the band's overall plans. And those plans include a tour next summer, as he told Hot Press after U2's surprise release of Songs Of Innocence on Tuesday:
"I think you can expect a major tour starting next summer that will in every way be what people expect of U2 - groundbreaking, unique and world-beating."
McGuinness also talks about the way the new album was released and the arrangement between U2 and Apple. Check the Hot Press website for the full story.
While we're all still getting our first listens to U2's new album, Songs Of Innocence, Bono says to be on the lookout for another album called Songs Of Experience.
That's from a letter to U2 fans posted a short time ago on U2.com where Bono basically re-introduces the band after the long hiatus between albums. In addition to talking about today's album release, he says we can expect a second album (while also admitting that he's said that in the past):
We're collaborating with Apple on some cool stuff over the next couple of years, innovations that will transform the way music is listened to and viewed. We'll keep you posted. If you like Songs of Innocence, stay with us for Songs of Experience. It should be ready soon enough… although I know I've said that before…
You might recognize the titles from your high school literature classes: There's a famous book of poetry by William Blake called Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
There's been talk for years about this idea of a pair of "sister" albums, and now it seems that's actually going to happen. Remember, too, that right before the Oscar Awards, Bono said there would be two new U2 albums.
The rumors came true ... and then some.
A live performance. A new single. And a new album, released today -- for free. That sums up what happened Tuesday morning in Cupertino as U2 showed up at the end of Apple's event where the company launched new iPhones and the new Apple Watch.
But for U2 fans, it was all about the band and the music. After all of Apple's announcements, CEO Tim Cook brought U2 on stage where the band performed "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," the first single from their new album. After that, Cook returned to the stage and had a conversation with Bono, where Bono said that U2 has recorded several albums since No Line On The Horizon, but decided against releasing them. Eventually, their chat led to the news that U2 would release its new album, Songs Of Innocence, immediately via iTunes for free. In fact, Cook called it "the biggest album release in the history of music" because the album is being automatically distributed into the music libraries of everyone with an iTunes account -- more than half a billion people.
That's the album cover above, by the way. If you have an iTunes account, you can find the album here in the iTunes Music Store, but there's nothing to download. That'll happen automatically and you should be able to (eventually - things are slow at the moment) find the album in your music library. (Check under the "Purchased" tab, or look through your U2 artist/album collection.) The album will be exclusively available this way until October 13th.
Here's the tracklist:
The Telegraph's Neil McCormick has already reviewed the album and given it four stars. Also check out Rolling Stone's track-by-track guide through Songs Of Innocence. ADDED: Billboard explains U2's new album and its album/song charts. And the Wall Street Journal looks at the business deal that made today's album release possible.
A deluxe version of Songs Of Innocence will be released on October 13th. The news release says it "will contain an acoustic session of select songs from the album plus four additional tracks: Lucifer’s Hands, The Crystal Ballroom, The Troubles (Alternative version), Sleep Like A Baby Tonight (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake)."
If you missed the event this morning, Apple will have a replay online soon and there are lots of photos if you scroll down that page. You can also watch this video of U2's performance on YouTube.
More to come as we get it. There's a lot of chat in our forum already about today's news -- feel free to join in!
With less than 24 hours to go until Apple's latest major product announcement event, the New York Times is reporting that the rumors are true: "U2 will play a significant part in Apple's event," its article says. The Times cites information from three people who have been briefed on plans for tomorrow's event:
In addition to performing, the band will reveal an integration with Apple's products that is connected to its next album, which is expected to come out by the end of the year, according to these people, who spoke anonymously because the band's appearance — and its deal with Apple — is supposed to be a surprise.
The article goes on to say that "people close to the band" have dismissed reports that U2's new album would be pre-loaded on the new iPhone, but they "said that U2's deal with Apple would involve the release of new music in an innovative way, and Apple's event would partly serve as a big, splashy stunt to generate publicity."
The Times got the official "no comment" from both Apple and U2.
The event is scheduled to start at 10 am PT tomorrow and will be streamed online.
UPDATE: The Irish Times is also weighing in with information of its own, and it says that U2 will not be performing on Tuesday, but will appear at the event. The article also says "while the album will not be officially released, it will be available to be streamed on the device" -- i.e., on the new iPhone.
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