Songs of Experience Update

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-08-14)

Songs of Experience, U2’s new album, appears to be finished and due to be released this winter. On June 26, we broke the news that the album was rumoured to be released on December 1, 2017. That date was confirmed by a number of sources for us and, as of the end of last week, we have had another reliable source get in touch and confirm that the album is indeed finished, and is indeed scheduled for December 1, 2017. That date is World AIDS Day, and it is believed that the album will have some sort of promotional tie-in to Product (RED). There was a rumour early last week that the album would be delayed until 2018, but our sources have confirmed that it is still on track for this year.

We have also been told that the album will be promoted in advance of the December release date by two singles. “You’re the Best Thing About Me” is expected to be the first release, and should be issued to radio on Friday, September 8, 2017, which is the same week that The Joshua Tree 2017 tour resumes in North America. A video for “You’re the Best Thing About Me” was shot in Amsterdam in July. A remix of the song by DJ Kygo was played at a festival in Norway last August, but the version from the album is expected to be the one that Steve Lillywhite suggested he was mixing last September.

The second single is potentially being readied as well. U2gigs.Com report that a second new song was played for fans in Amsterdam while the band filmed a video for it. This second single would be released later in the fall, in early November, as a further promotional push for the album. Rumour has it that U2 worked on filming other material in Amsterdam as well, potentially shooting footage for up to four different projects. This is in addition to filming that was done in Soho in London in early July, at the Groucho Club. Although part of that day was spent on the Zane Lowe interview for Beats Radio, the band is also said to have filmed some material with their own film crew at that venue on that same day.

The band has been actively playing tracks from the new album at listening sessions throughout the first and second legs of The Joshua Tree 2017 tour, showcasing anywhere from four to eight songs from the album for media at these stops. “Red Flag Day” has been reported as having been played at one of these sessions in North America. “The Lights of 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. It is said to contain the lyrics used in the Kendrick Lamar song, “XXX.” That track was credited to U2 on Lamar’s album but it was only Bono that appeared on the song. The U2 credit would make sense if the lyrics were taken from an upcoming U2 track. Finally, “You’re The Best Thing About Me” is being played at the preview sessions as well, not the Kygo remix but likely the Lillywhite album version.

The following is the list of songs expected to be on the new album:

  • “You’re the Best Thing About Me”
  • “The Black Out”
  • “American Soul”
  • “The Lights of Home”
  • “Red Flag Day”
  • “The Little Things That Give You Away”

Other titles mentioned recently expected to be in contention for the album:

  • “The Showman” (Mentioned in MOJO Magazine, February 2017 where Bono calls it his favorite, and says it is about singers, “The showman gives you front row to his heart, The shaman prays that his heartache will chart”). Bono mentioned the song again during the Zane Lowe interview.
  • “Tightrope” (Mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Oct. 2015, “It’s very epic. It’s very up. And, you know, that’s probably what the experience has taught us: to be fully in the moment and that fun is respected, and joy is not to be let go of.”)
  • “Landlady” (Mentioned in Q Magazine, Feb. 2016)
  • “Much More Better” (Mentioned in Q Magazine, Feb. 2016, “deeply personal acoustic demo about Bono’s recovery from his bike accident.”)
  • “Summer of Love”(Mentioned in MOJO Magazine, February 2017 where Bono says the song is “achingly beautiful and empty. It could be a big song and it’s tiny. These are real tunes.”)
  • “Get Out of Your Own Way” (Mentioned in Q Magazine, Feb. 2016 and by the Globe and Mail in May 2015 where reporter Marsha Lederman states, “They were talking about getting of your own way, not to fight with yourself, in striving to perform at the top of your game.”)
  • “Civilisation” (Mentioned in Q Magazine, Feb. 2016, “sounded like a surefire album opener. Bono described Larry Mullen’s colossal drum roll in the middle of the song as ‘my favorite bit on a U2 album in years.’”)
  • “The Morning After Innocence” (Discussed on BBC Radio on October 16, 2014, “You never could write so well or do anything you were told on 10 Cedarwood Road, I’m your older self, the song of experience, I’ve come to ask for some help from your song of innocence.”)
  • “Instrument Flying” (Mentioned in Q Magazine, Feb. 2016, “had a sleek, motorik quality.”)
  • “Love is All We Have Left” (Small bit of audio leaked on Instagram in September 2016)

More recent news includes the fact that Universal Music branches internationally have been told about the forthcoming album and have been told to prepare for it in the fourth quarter of this calendar year. And some select American media outlets are expected to receive full listening sessions of the album in the coming days.

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