"I find it to be an ongoing challenge to keep the guitar from becoming too traditional."
Songs Of Experience InformationOn Christmas day, 2016, U2 released a video confirming that Songs Of Experience will be released in 2017. An exact date wasn't mentioned.
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.
The 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 webmaster...at...atu2...dot...com.
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 Will.i.am, 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.
ALBUM RELEASE DATE: 2017
POSSIBLE SONGS MENTIONED
These are two types of songs listed below:
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.
In addition the above, there are numerous other unreleased songs dating back 10 years or more that could still see the light of day. Titles include "You Can't Give Away Your Heart," "Lead Me In The Way I Should Go," "Mercy," "North Star," "Love Is All We Have Left," "If I Could Live My Life Again," "Winter," "Soon," "Glastonbury" and "Return Of The Stingray Guitar." Some of these have been played in concert. Some have been released on non-album formats. Some have likely turned into other songs by now.
February 18, 2017: The April 2017 issue of MOJO magazine is hitting stores and has a lot of information and quotes about Songs Of Experience. The article says the album is still planned for release in the second half of 2017, with the I+E tour to resume in spring 2018. Adam is quoted as saying U2 is about 85 percent finished, and needs to cut down from 15-16 songs to 12 for the album. The band will work with Steve Lillywhite next month (March) at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. In addition to some "tinkering" (Bono's word) on songs to reflect the current political climate, Adam says there are musical reasons the album isn't finished:
There wasn't clarity to some of the mixes [on SOI] and we needed to be a little bit more inventive sonically. I mean, that record, when we performed it live, the songs became very, very masculine and very tough and we didn't really capture that on the record. So again one of the reasons why we're trying to slow this down a bit is we really want to get the mixes right. We don't want a soup. We want a consomme.
The MOJO article mentions several songs, all of which have
been added or updated in our list above: "The Showman," "The Best Thing
About You Is Me," (note: we think that's a typo and the actual title
ends "About Me Is You") "The Little Things That Give You Away," "Red
Flag Day" and "Summer Of Love." The latter two are said to reference
the refugee crisis in Europe. Bono describes "Summer Of Love" as
"achingly beautiful and empty. It could be a big song and it's tiny."
January 12, 2017: Adam Clayton spoke to RollingStone.com about The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, but also answered questions about Songs Of Experience.
Clayton says hopes the band will play 1-2 songs from the next album
during the upcoming tour. In terms of when SOE will be released, Adam
says the band wants it out this year:
We all very much feel like it needs
to be the end of this year. It's not on any schedule anywhere, anything
like that. We're going to get back to that later this year and polish
it off and finish it off a bit more. But we think we're there with it.
It's not like the switch to do these Joshua Tree shows was because we
needed a lot of time. It was just because it's pretty much in the bag.
We can still work on it throughout this year, all the little nips and
tucks that we want to do.
January 12, 2017: Bono spoke to U2.com about The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, and also joked that Songs Of Experience could be released "possibly even this decade." After saying that the band has forbidden him from talking about release dates, he shared a lengthy lyrical excerpt from one of the new songs, "The Little Things That Give You Away."
The night gave you a song,
January 9, 2017: In an interview with RollingStone.com about the launch of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, Edge spoke about the band's decision to put Songs Of Experience on hold because of recent changes in the political landscape:
"Well, when we came off the last tour, the Innocence and Experience indoor tour, we headed straight into finishing the second album of that set, Songs of Experience, which we were pretty much complete with after a couple of weeks of the final touches leading up to the end of the year. And then the election [happened] and suddenly the world changed. We just went, "Hold on a second -- we've got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what's going on in the world." That's because it was written mostly, I mean, 80 percent of it was started before 2016, but most of it was written in the early part of 2016, and now, as I think you'd agree, the world is a different place."
Edge goes on to say that the decision to hold off on Songs Of Experience could lead to new songs. "We may even write a couple of new songs because that's the very position we're in. We've given ourselves a little bit of breathing space for creativity."
December 25, 2016: U2 released a video confirming that Songs Of Experience will be released in 2017. An exact date wasn't mentioned.
October 17, 2016: One Republic's Ryan Tedder, who did production work on Songs Of Innocence and continues to work with U2 on Songs Of Experience, talked about the latter with Consequence of Sound:
As for their new album, Songs of
Experience, I’ve already been working with them for a year. We’re
roping in some really good remixes that are going to kick an entirely
new door wide open for U2 fans. The world right now is listening to
such different music that you can’t expect a 20-year-old to gravitate
to a U2 record if it’s not put in the context of what they listen to
October 10, 2016: During an appearance on Irish radio related to the Walk In My Shoes campaign, Adam Clayton said "maybe March/April" when asked when U2's new album might come out.
September 20, 2016: In an interview with PBS host Charlie Rose, Bono said U2 has 16 songs "in the cooker" and will narrow them down to 10 or 12 for Songs Of Experience. But he was non-committal about a release date and U2's tour plans.
A couple points of business -- when is the album coming out? Songs Of
September 13, 2016: Steve Lillywhite
a music conference in Singapore that he's mixing a new U2 single.
September 10, 2016: In the new issue
of Rolling Stone, a U2
quoted as saying the band's new album is "definitely not coming
August 20, 2016: Kygo, a Norwegian
DJ and producer, played
called "The Best Thing" during a live performance in Bergen, Norway.
Local media reported that the song is a collaboration between Kygo and
U2, but we don't know if it'll be under consideration for U2's next
August 3, 2016: Speaking
to U2 fans in Spain, Bono said Songs
isn't finished yet, and said U2 will tour again in 2017. Adam told the
same fans that the album would be done "soon, in the next six months."
June 23, 2016: The Edge tells Billboard.com that U2 is busting its arse to get the next album out by the end of 2016.
"We are still busting our a** to try to get it out this year. That's our plan right now and exactly when, we're not sure. Now a U2 album has been known to be revised (laughs). This is the working assumption. This is our ambition. It could change, but we're really doing our best to get it out this year."
June 3, 2016: In a post on Instagram, Adam teased a brief clip of a new song with the caption "SOE is being born!"
May 20, 2016: Ryan Tedder, who worked on four tracks from Songs Of Innocence, is apparently working on Songs Of Experience, too. He tells Radio.com that U2's new album is "very, very accessible" but "it's not pop."
April 14, 2016: Gavin Friday tells Hot Press that he's heard some of U2's new material and said "it's more aggressive than the last album."
March 29, 2016: The Edge tells
RollingStone.com 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.
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. "
May 10, 2015: We
that Jolyon Thomas is another producer that U2 has worked with recently
in Vancouver. Thomas' name was first mentioned on a New York Times
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.
September 9, 2014: A few hours after Songs Of Innocence is announced and released, Bono writes a note for fans on U2.com 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
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 U2.com, 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.
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.
December 7, 2010: Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.am 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.