Songs of Experience Listening Sessions

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-07-16)

Imagine going to see U2 in a stadium, and being moved into a small room before the show. You are surrounded by DJs and music personalities. You’ve all been gathered to listen to some new songs by U2. U2 has invited you to be the first to hear songs from Songs of Experience.

It’s not only your chance to listen to the songs ahead of the rest of the world. It’s also your chance to give feedback on the new material as well. Because the band is right there in the room with you and they want to discuss the new songs with you.

Sounds like a dream right?

Well that’s exactly what has been happening for about a month now. U2 has been having listening sessions for the new album at each stop of the tour. These sessions are for music professionals and members of the music industry. We have heard reports that these sessions have been ongoing since the Philadelphia show on the first leg, and they are continuing in Europe. The band are not playing the entire Songs of Experience album, but reports are they are playing between four and eight songs. In the earliest sessions they played five to six songs, but may have played as many as eight in Toronto. The sessions in Europe have reverted to a smaller number of songs. Timing may play into how many songs are played, as these sessions are taking place right before showtime. The session last night in Rome was attended by The Edge, Adam Clayton and Bono.

“Red Flag Day” has been mentioned as having been played at one of these sessions in North America. “The Light at Home” (perhaps previously known as “The Light”) has been mentioned by The Edge as one of the songs he’s loving on the new album. “American Soul” has been described as a real rocker of a tune. “You’re The Best Thing About Me” is being heard, but it isn’t the remixed version by Kygo, but a more U2 sounding alternate mix.

And remember those lines Bono sang on “XXX” by Kendrick Lamar? There was some confusion as to why it was listed as U2 on that collaboration, when it appeared that only Bono was present on that song with Lamar. It likely the song was initially credited to U2, because the lyrics have been taken from a U2 song, a song that has now been heard in these preview sessions. But we’re told the lyrics are a bit slower on the Kendrick Lamar track than on the actual U2 version.

The first single from the album was originally rumoured for a July release, but is now being confirmed to arrive in eight weeks. The song should be released to radio the first week of September, just as the band starts the third leg of The Joshua Tree 2017 tour. The single will not be “The Little Things that Give You Away,” but appears to be “You’re the Best Thing About Me” based on these current sessions where they are sharing information about the plan for the fall.

The album will follow this year, but not until the end of the year. From previous information shared with us, we expect the release date will be December 1, 2017, which also happens to be World AIDS Day. The band has said they will not release it until the Joshua Tree tour is finished, and the tour is currently scheduled to run until October 22, 2017, so it certainly would not be any earlier than that.

We’ve also been told that the Songs of Experience and Innocence tour is expected to restart next Spring, with ticket sales before Christmas.

[Please note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that the single would not be “You’re the Best Thing About Me”]

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