Per Billboard, Rolling Stone, Your Worst Nightmares: Album Postponed to 2015

March 7, 2014

Yeah, this isn’t a joke. It may seem that way, but per “multiple industry” sources as cited from Billboard and Rolling Stone, U2 have indeed postponed the album for at least 9 months.

The reasons behind the postponement have obviously not been disclosed by the band itself because, well, that’s not the kind of information that “industry sources” provide. What we do know is that the ”magic that the band always seems to capture … they have yet to capture it,” per industry sources. OK.  Perhaps most distressing of all is that the role of Danger Mouse in the project is now in question. Previously, it was somewhat clear that he would be producing the record more or less in its entirety. However, it has now been disclosed that OneRepublic singer/producer Ryan Tedder and the Grammy-winning, Ordinary Love-remixing Paul Epworth may be brought into the studio in the coming weeks/months/millennia, though Danger Mouse will apparently be kept on as the primary producer.

Then again, according to a recent interview with, Danger Mouse himself has no idea about the status of the record: “I don’t know [about the U2 album]. I’m working on Bells right now I have no idea what they’re doing. I’ve been working on it for YEARS but I’m sure they’re still working on the record.” This is bad news for many U2 fans because the old “too many cooks in the kitchen” adage that has been applied to Pop, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, etc. will now forever loom heavily over this new record, whenever it comes out.

And make no mistake, “2015″ is also an extremely vague date. It could mean March; it could mean December. In theory, this could take U2 out of the spotlight for as much as 21 months, though they had been building media momentum for the past three. In any case, it’s clear that the album will not be released until U2 has confidence in the material, which they have not yet established.

Earlier last week, it was a very exciting time to be a U2 fan. The band had a shot at an Oscar and everything seemed to be leading up to an album announcement. My, how quickly things change.

But at least something happened quickly in the world of U2.

Broken Bells Find the High Road with Their Debut

March 19, 2010

In a seemingly unlikely pairing, Danger Mouse and James Mercer (of The Shins fame, of course) collaborated on “Insane Lullaby” from Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse’s (R.I.P. Mark Linkous) 2009 album Dark Night of the Soul. “Insane Lullaby” crafted a glitchy, effervescent soundscape full of broken beats for Mercer to sink into, with the result being one of the most striking tracks on the album. So, when Danger Mouse and Mercer announced their project, Broken Bells, and intent to release an album in 2010, fans worldwide rejoiced.

The self-titled brokenbellscover250album begins with the one-two punch of “The High Road,” its first single, and “Vaporize,” both of which feature the soaring, spacious harmonies and off-kilter, skipping beats that are prominent throughout the record.

“Vaporize” describes the discontents with resigning oneself to following society’s paths, which often requires abandoning or forgetting about earlier, “less practical” plans. Like so many other wide eyed, idealistic youth, they had “a simple plan, we’d be different from the rest/and never resign to a typical life,” but suddenly, presumably years later, “we realize we’re paralyzed/Where’d it go, all that precious time?/Did we even try to stem the tide?” As if by accident, they find themselves living a life that doesn’t resemble their earlier visions whatsoever.

And just as abruptly, Mercer sings with passionate resolve, “It’s not too late/to feel a little more alive/Make an escape/Before we start to vaporize” before ending with a BrokenBells300sentiment every human being can identify with (“I was lost then and I am lost now/and I doubt I’ll ever know which way to go”).

The middle section of the album, unfortunately, becomes a bit stagnant, which isn’t to say that it’s bad or unenjoyable, simply not nearly as memorable as “The High Road” and “Vaporize” or later tracks, such as “October” and “The Mall and the Misery.”

Danger Mouse has an absolutely stunning tendency to bring out the very best in artists he works with, and James Mercer is no different; the finest songs on the album (“The High Road,” “Vaporize”)  exemplify this fact, making Broken Bells’ self-titled debut a spirited success, but certainly with room to grow, develop, and refine their sound before (hopefully) releasing a follow-up.—Cassie Traun, Editor