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Songs Of Experience Information

On September 9, 2014, U2 appeared at an Apple Inc. press event to perform and announce the immediate (and free) availability of their new album, Songs Of Innocence.

In addition to that album, Bono has revealed that a second album called Songs Of Experience "should be ready soon enough." He later clarified to say that it could be a year away or more, while admitting that he's not the most reliable source on this kind of info.

Irish DJ Dave Fanning, U2's longtime friend, has gone on record saying that U2 has two more albums in the works. If true, we speculate that the third album could use the Songs Of Ascent title -- that name has been in play since Bono mentioned it in March 2009.

cd coverThe following is a running collection of news, rumors, quotes, and other information related to U2's next studio album (or albums, as the case may be). We'll continue to post updates to this page as we get new information. If you have found a quote or news item about the new U2 album, you're welcome to share it by emailing

ALBUM NAME(s): Songs Of Experience and possibly Songs Of Ascent.

PRODUCER(s): Andy Barlow and Jolyon Thomas worked on new material with U2 while the band rehearsed for its tour in Vancouver in April/May 2015. Edge was spotted working with Jacknife Lee in early 2016 in Lee's California studio. Producers from Songs Of Innocence may also be involved: Danger Mouse, Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood. Since No Line On The Horizon was released, U2 has also worked with, David Guetta and RedOne. It's possible, too, that some older material that was slated for the original Songs Of Ascent project could survive with producers including Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite.


FORMATS: unknown

TRACKLIST: unknown


These are two types of songs listed below:

  1. songs mentioned in the buildup to U2's new album
  2. songs believed to be unused from previous albums

It's possible that some of these titles were changed and have already appeared under a different name. It's also possible that, as song titles changes, some of these may be referring to the same song.

  • "Landlady" - mentioned in the February 2016 issue of Q magazine
  • "Where The Shadows Fall" - mentioned in the February 2016 issue of Q magazine
  • "Tightrope" - mentioned in an Entertainment Weekly article
  • "Much More Better" - mentioned in the October 2015 Q magazine cover article
  • "The Little Things That Give You Away" - mentioned in the October 2015 Q magazine cover article
  • "Get Out Of Your Own Way" - Marsha Lederman of Canada's Globe and Mail tweeted about this song shortly after interviewing U2 on the day before the Innocence + Experience tour began.
  • "Red Flag Day" - mentioned by the New York Times as one of the new songs U2 worked on during tour rehearsals in Vancouver
  • "Civilization" - mentioned by the New York Times as one of the new songs U2 worked on during tour rehearsals in Vancouver
  • "Instrument Flying" - mentioned by the New York Times as one of the new songs U2 worked on during tour rehearsals in Vancouver
  • "The Morning After Innocence" -- a song first mentioned by Bono in an interview with The Guardian; more recently, Bono shared some of the song's lyrics, which include the line "lead me in the way I should go" -- so this song could be the same as the song listed below with that title
  • "The Light" -- one of our contacts tells us that Bono mentioned a song with this title while visiting in early 2014 with Aslan singer Christy Dignam
  • "Mount Zion" - a song mentioned in the May 2011 Hot Press interview
  • "I'll Believe Her When She Sings" - another song mentioned in the May 2011 Hot Press interview and described as part of the "club music" sessions with RedOne
  • "The Sacred Heart of Malibu" - a song that Bono played for Dutch journalist Bert van de Kamp, and mentioned in his book, And They Called Him Bono; this song could possibly have become "California" on Songs Of Innocence
  • "Mother of Pearl" - another new song that Bono played for van de Kamp
  • "Return of the Stingray Guitar" - an instrumental rock track that U2 played to start shows on the European U2 360 tour in 2010; in an interview, Larry says the song has been rewritten from what it sounded like on tour; echoes of this song can be heard in "Lucifer's Hands," one of the bonus tracks on Songs Of Innocence
  • "Glastonbury" - another song that U2 performed on the European tour; U2 wrote this song shortly after the end of the 2009 U2 360 tour and planned to premiere it at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2010; in an interview, Larry says the song has been rewritten from what it sounded like on tour; echoes of this song can be heard in "Volcano" on Songs Of Innocence
  • "Soon" - this is the name of the song U2 used as the intro music when the band took the stage on the 2009 U2 360 Tour; it appeared on the 7-inch, orange vinyl that accompanied the U2 360 at the Rose Bowl super deluxe DVD box set, and was previously said to be called "Kingdom Of Your Love"
  • "Winter" (unused from No Line On The Horizon) - this song appears in the Jim Sheridan film, Brothers
  • "If I Could Live My Life Again" - Bono says this song is "inspired by the great Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges." Bono said he had just begun the song while speaking with author Michka Assayas in December, 2005. Their interview appears as the extra material in the paperback version of Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas.
  • "Love Is All We Have Left" - a song Bono named during his May, 2006, trip to Africa as one that he had recently written. "It’s like an old Broadway tune. I thought it was a Frank Sinatra song," Bono said.
  • "North Star," a song from the How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sessions which included a guest organ appearance from Michael W. Smith. In this CCM article (PDF download), Smith describes the song as a tribute to Johnny Cash. Bono and Edge performed an acoustic version of this song a few times during the European 360 tour in 2010. It also featured briefly in the Summer 2011 film, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon. Echoes of this song seem to appear in "Song For Someone" on Songs Of Innocence.
  • "Mercy", one of the last songs to get cut from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, described in Blender magazine as "a six-and-a-half-minute outpouring of U2 at its most uninhibitedly U2-ish." U2 played it regularly during the last couple weeks of the European tour in 2010, and a live version with different lyrics appeared on the vinyl release, U2 Wide Awake In Europe in late 2010.
  • "Lead Me In The Way I Should Go" -- a contender for Atomic Bomb first mentioned in this February, 2003, interview with Bono in Grammy Magazine; this song may now be called "The Morning After Innocence," which is mentioned above
  • "You Can't Give Away Your Heart" - a contender for Atomic Bomb first mentioned in SPIN magazine

LATEST NEWS (we've removed news items specific to Songs Of Innocence)

March 29, 2016: The Edge tells that U2 is "still in the weeds" as it works on its next album, and says he has about 50 song ideas that he's worked on so far. He does confirm that U2 is sticking with plans to release its next album as a companion to 2014's Songs Of Innocence but, Edge says, "It's really hard to say at this point when it will be done." He also hints that U2 may continue the Innocence + Experience tour later this year even without a new album.

March 23, 2016: A new promotional video from Fender guitars includes Edge playing about 30 seconds of a new, unknown song.

March 3, 2016: Adam Clayton told Ireland's TodayFM radio that U2 has been in the studio this week working on its new album.

December 29, 2015: In the February 2016 issue of Q magazine, Adam Clayton essentially ties the next leg of the Innocence + Experience tour to the release of Songs Of Experience, and says both are likely to happen in late 2016:

"The intention was always that we started on the Innocence album and go through to the Experience album. We'll start the show up with additional material towards the end of the year. We like the idea that there's a rounding of the circle."

The article also mentions two new song titles -- "Landlady" and "Where The Shadows Fall."

November 3, 2015: Around this date, Olaf Tyaransen of Hot Press magazine interviews the band for a future cover article. The published article focuses on a Q&A with The Edge that includes this about the next album:

What's happening with Songs Of Experience?

We're working away, here and there, as we go around. It's hard to really say how long it will take to finish it off, but we're really determined to get it finished early in the New Year. That would be our plan: try to finish it as quickly as possible in the New Year and get it out when it seems like the right moment.

Which would be?

No dates. We haven't figured it out yet, but out intention would be to get it out sometime in the back end of next year.

Would you release it the same way as Songs Of Innocence?

We are looking at all options. It's the same problem, sort of; I can see so many great albums get released and they just disappear. It's so hard now to capture people's attention. There are exceptions obviously. Adele's new song created a huge sensation and I think it's a great tune. She's such a phenomenon -- so you have the exceptions. But for a lot of acts, anything with a guitar these days, it seems goes through the same kind of trial, which is 'How do we generate interest for our work?' We have seen the benefit of the Apple release on the tour. So it's kind of a crazy thing.

How so?

There seem to be a lot of young fans coming to the show, knowing the new album better than they know a lot of our classic songs. So, there's kind of a definite benefit accrued from having the album out to so many people. So we would not rule out doing something similar with the next record. But honestly, what we were trying to do at that moment was something new and different and, of course, things in this climate are new and different for like a split second, and then they are old and predictable.

So what are the implications for Songs Of Experience?

When we're coming out with the next release, we'll try to think of something that is a new thing, and a fresh way of getting music out there.

October 12, 2015: An article in Entertainment Weekly mentions a new song currently called "Tightrope," and says U2 currently has about 18 songs it's working on, 12 of which will be on Songs Of Experience.

August 25, 2015: In a cover article featuring U2, Q magazine mentions the titles of two new songs that we've not previously listed on this page: "Much More Better" and "The Little Things That Give You Away." The former is described as an acoustic demo about Bono's bike accident that includes the lyric, "I only sing to prove that I'm here."

May 15, 2015: In a conversation with The Independent, Edge shared this about the progress on U2's next album:

The Edge added that the follow-up album to 2014's Songs Of Innocence titled Songs Of Experience is "not finished yet. But we have a lot of material that we are really happy with. We have been working on it, recently, but it is coming together. I would say it is a lot more developed than Zooropa [the 1993 U2 album] was when we started the Zoo TV Tour. "

"I guess it really depends whether we feel it is worth pushing for within the ten weeks that we have at the end of this tour," he says of Songs Of Experience.

"We might just go for it. We might just say, 'It is more important to get it out than to make it perfect.' Which was the truth with Zooropa. And it is a lot of people's favourite album!" The Edge smiles, which he does a lot.

"We love to do stuff that kind of breaks rhyme and you are not doing the obvious shit. It gets more challenging. In the case of Passengers [the 1995 side-project album recorded by U2 and Brian Eno under the pseudonym of Passengers], it was not so bad because no one thought of it as a U2 album. But there are no kind of small U2 albums any more. You can't sneak anything out."

"The magnifying glass is on every single thing we do.  I loved when [Bruce] Springsteen brought out Nebraska.  A weird acoustic album."

As for how the Songs Of Experience album might sound, The Edge says that there is an influence of dance and electronica "but", he quickly qualifies, "it is quite malleable. And actually the last few mixes are quite raw again. So, it is really too early to say, I have to be honest."

"We could make all the announcements but then it would probably serve to make a fool out of us at the end when the album comes out – and the album is a country and western album!" The Edge laughs.

May 10, 2015: We confirm that Jolyon Thomas is another producer that U2 has worked with recently in Vancouver. Thomas' name was first mentioned on a New York Times podcast.

April 29, 2015: The New York Times reveals that U2 has a mobile recording studio setup at its Vancouver tour rehearsals and is working on new material for Songs Of Experience. Andy Barlow of the electronic group Lamb is one of the producers named, and the article mentions song titles including "Red Flag Day," "Civilization" and "Instrument Flying."

March 5, 2015: At the Meteor Irish Music Awards in Dublin, Edge says that U2's next album could be as much as 18 months away.

October 12, 2014: During an interview with The Guardian, Bono mentioned a new song slated for Songs Of Experience called "The Morning After Innocence." Here's what the interview says about the song's subject matter:

Regarding the powerful people he's dealt with, Bono says "the younger me wouldn't have liked any of them". I ask him if he misses certain aspects of that confused yet righteous youth and he replies by reciting the lyrics to The Morning After Innocence, a song from Songs of Experience, the work-in-progress sequel to Songs of Innocence.

"The older protagonist is asking the younger one for help," he explains. "The biggest problem that I face now is that I understand the dialectical nature of things. It can make you less clear about your response." He sounds wistful. "When I was younger, I knew what my position was on everything."

September 9, 2014: A few hours after Songs Of Innocence is announced and released, Bono writes a note for fans on that says a second album, Songs Of Experience, is on the way.

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…

February 28, 2014: During a pre-Oscars interview, Bono tells his old friend, Amanda Brunker, that U2 is working on two albums.

January 9, 2013: Larry Mullen Jr. told Dave Fanning that U2 will "hopefully" have its next album released by September, and it will be the album with Danger Mouse producing. He also suggested that U2 wants to release a second album "shortly afterwards," comparing it to when Zooropa was released less than a year after Achtung Baby.

July 11, 2012: An LA Times article mentions that a Los Angeles-based digital ad agency is working on a digital application for U2. It's not certain to be related to a new album, but that seems likely.

January 8, 2012: In an interview posted on, Bono explains that his recent busking session in Dublin, along with other recent acoustic performances with Edge, has him thinking about U2's upcoming plans -- which may include Songs Of Ascent, after all (despite Adam's comments to Q magazine; see below):

I  played a couple of songs acoustically but earlier in the year both Edge and I played at the memorial to Steve Jobs and also at the Hollywood Bowl for the Bill Clinton Foundation. It's quite something hearing our own songs, like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" or "A Man and Woman," so stripped down and I think it showed us some clues for the future.

We're working on three albums at the moment and we haven't decided what order we're going to put them out but The Songs of Ascent have the kind of beautiful intimacy that we're speaking of now. They fit into this moment, the mode of some of these artists that I was hanging out with on Christmas Eve.

October 26, 2011: In the latest issue of Q magazine, Adam suggests that U2 will probably not be pursuing the Songs Of Ascent project and songs.

We thought there was more material left over from No Line... we now feel a long way from that material.

The article suggests that U2 plans to work on the songs and material they've begun with Danger Mouse.

October 22, 2011: In an Irish Times interview, Bono hints that U2's next album may come in a new format:

Earlier, he was using an iPad with the Achtung Baby songs and videos on it. "That's probably what our new album will look like," he says. "I've been talking about this for the past four years.

"Our last album was the first album to be made available as an app with BlackBerry devices, but it didn't work: the functionality was not what it could have been. New formats are going to happen. I'm always banging on about this. The app format brings you back to that world of gatefold sleeves, of being able to read lyrics – and [now of] being able to play the album at home on your plasma TV."

December 7, 2010: Black Eyed Peas' frontman has confirmed that he's producing a new U2 album; we believe this to be the dance/club-sounding album that Bono has mentioned before.

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