Plot Twist: U2 Releases New Album “Songs of Innocence” on iTunes, For Free, to Millions

September 9, 2014

Well, hey. Look at this!

Over the past several weeks, rumors have circulated across the internet about a possible connection between U2 and the Apple even in Cupertino, CA. Nothing was confirmed; in fact, publicists from both Apple and U2 themselves denied any connection whatsoever. Then, yesterday, The New York Times spilled the beans, making a bold claim that they would indeed “play a role” at the event.

They did. This afternoon, everyone with an iTunes account received a free copy of the new album Songs of Innocence.  In a pre-release interview, Bono referred to the album as “the biggest album release of all time,” which is exactly what they were looking for. This is indeed a very big move.

Unfortunately, it still needs to be downloaded and there have been a number of complaints on Twitter regarding server issues. But that’s just fine with me; if I’ve waited five years, I can wait a few more minutes.


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.

New U2 Singles To Be Released On Vinyl

October 30, 2013

U2 plan to release a new record of singles, to be available for sale on Friday, Nov. 29 for Record Store Day’s third annual Black Friday sale. The record will be an exclusive 10,000 copy limited edition issue.

The record will include U2′s recent single, “Ordinary Love,” which was recently featured in the trailer for the upcoming film “Mandella: Long Walk To Freedom.”The band was apparently inspired to write the song after seeing early cuts for the film. U2 befriended Mandela years ago, in support of the progress he made as President of South Africa upon during his presidency.

The record will also include a B-Side of the song Breathe from the band’s 2009 album “No Line On The Horizon,” which is listed on the Record Store Day website as the ‘Mandela version.’

After such a long time without any musical activity from U2, it’s great to hear news of real activity from the band leading up to the hopeful release of their next album.

U2 Reveal New Single in Trailer for ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

October 22, 2013

For the first time in three years, U2 have released a little something for fans to get excited about.

Their new single, “Ordinary Love,” was written and recorded specifically for the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic, titled Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and a sample appears in the recently released trailer for the film. ”The sea wants to kiss the golden shore/The sunlight warms your skin,” Bono sings over a piano track. “All the beauty that’s been lost before wants to find us again.” The sample lasts a little over a minute, climaxing with a swell of chorus.

There’s no word so far on whether the song will be appearing on their highly anticipated new album, but it’s a sure sign that the boys in the band are running in high gear in preparation.

The band has gone on record saying that they hope to have the album ready for release in 2014. They plan to have all 12 songs finished by Christmas of this year. “I think it’s a bit of return to U2 of old,” says bassist Adam Clayton. “But with the maturity, if you like, of the U2 of the last ten years.”

It’s not much, but it’s nothing but good news for U2 fans.

Unsettling Combinations: Zooropa Retrospective (part one)

August 8, 2013

The time that’s passed since the 1990s requires us to look at that period of U2 from a different angle. As the world of U2 fans celebrates the 20th anniversary of Zooropa this summer, we turned to our webzine intern and “intermedia” co-editor Jordan Frye to get his take on the record. With only a year longer on the planet than the album, Frye likes U2 but does not love U2 like we do and approached the band for this review in a way that may seem unfamiliar to some of us, a sort of outsider perspective. We hope you enjoy what he discovered. –Andrew Smith, Editor

U2’s Zooropa is a point of contention for many U2 fans. Even twenty years after the album’s release, the issue still stands: is Zooropa any good? If so, where does it fit in with the rest of U2’s discography?

In the context of following what is generally agreed upon as the band’s most successful and creative period, The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby in particular, Zooropa is a strange departure from the band’s familiar style. It’s an odd career move, but not unheard of. Many bands reach the peak of their fame and follow up with an album consisting largely of experimental tracks. For the die-hard U2 fan, it’s strange for some, yet one of the best for others.

Even though I am not a die-hard U2 fan and even though we know that writing songs about societal issues is nothing new for U2, the unsettling social aspects of the record stick with you.


From an outside perspective, Zooropa is a truly interesting listening experience. It’s strange at times. There are little moments where the types of sounds used for a song don’t seem to go together. A tambourine might break in during a moment of grungy, groaning guitar, such as in “Numb.” At other times, the sound can be absolutely beautiful, soaring, and full of texture.

The album carries with it an underlying tone of darkness. Not necessarily in content, but the sound itself is dark, moody, and primal. The title track “Zooropa” begins with chanting, eerie yet beautiful, finally breaking into floating guitar and Bono’s voice, swimming in modulated distortion.

There’s a tension between U2’s tendency toward positive sounds, even during moments of intensity, and the draw toward the darker side. Unsettling combinations of sounds that don’t belong together: much of it seems intentional.

“Babyface” combines a more typical U2 sound with a tinkling sort of childish tune in the backdrop. The content seems to apply to a child, arguably Bono’s as his first two children would have been only a few years old at this point in the band’s career. This combination of sounds continues throughout much of the album.

There’s an obvious message in the album as a whole. It’s difficult to grasp as one whole idea, but it sounds like an indictment of modern life. “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car,” “Zooropa,” and “The Wanderer” all deal with images of the corrupt nature of modern society and the issues therein.

Some tracks really benefit from the experimental edge. “Some Days Are Better Than Others” combines simple lyricism with a good beat and twangy, guitar-driven chorus. Other’s hardly feature it at all, such as “The First Time,” bringing out the more familiar slow ballad side of U2. All the same, it’s a gorgeous song, full of religious symbolism and touching images of true love in all its forms.

Zooropa is, simply put, difficult to really pin down. It’s weird. It has its moments where the only question is ‘Why would they do that?’ Other moments leave hairs standing up on the back of your neck. Compared to the canonical classics of U2 discography, it might not quite measure up, but it’s definitely no mistake on the band’s part. It’s an interesting look at a different U2, and maybe, it helped them make it through their height-of-fame phase and into musical adulthood with little consequence.

If anything, an album that fades out with a guest appearance by Johnny Cash himself has something going for it. –Jordan Frye, Contributing Editor

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