"Songs of Experience" - U2

Album

Track Listing:

Bonus Tracks:

“You’re The Best Thing About Me” (U2 vs. Kygo) will only be available on formats that include the Deluxe CD. The other three tracks will be available on vinyl. “The Blackout (Jacknife Lee Remix)” will be a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the CD in Japan.

Background Information

The album Songs of Experience is the studio album released by U2 in 2017. The title is taken from the work of William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, in the late 1700s, and the album is a follow up to U2’s own album Songs of Innocence, released in 2014, and it is U2’s fourteenth studio album. The album was started in earnest during rehearsals for 2015’s “Innocence and Experience” tour, as the band worked with Joylon Thomas as rehearsals commenced in Vancouver for that tour. Recording continued and the band worked with producers Jacknife Lee, Andy Barlow, and Steve Lillywhite to finish the album.

Songs of Innocence had barely hit iPhones, and Bono was already announcing the next album, Songs of Experience, in a letter to U2.Com titled “Remember Us?” he stated, “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…” But the album was far less ready than Bono lead readers to believe. The Edge interviewed in May 2015, suggested that the album might be ready before the end of the year. By November of that year The Edge had suggested the album would be completed in early 2016, and released by the end of the year.

In the summer of 2016, plans had been made to release the album on October 31, 2016. The first single, “You’re The Best Thing About Me” was to be delivered to radio September 23, 2016, the same day that the band were due to play the iHeart Festival in Las Vegas. Additional promotional stops had been planned including the Salesforce meeting in early October which did happen, and a number of rumoured appearances that would later not happen including an appearance by Bono with Kygo in California, an appearance in Dublin to mark the bands 40th birthday, and an appearance on the Jools Holland Show. However in late-August, word was delivered to the record company that the album would be postponed. The band claimed the reason for the delay was the shift in global politics to a more conservative nature with the popularity of Donald Trump, and the recent Brexit vote. The band decided to step back and hold the album to reflect on this, but along the way one collaborator, Kygo, was not notified.

Kygo had remixed the first single, “You’re the Best Thing About Me” and debuted the single live at a festival appearance in Norway on August 19, 2016. It seemed that U2 were about to embark on a new album campaign, but that never happened, and news that the band had once again decided to delay the album circulated. At Christmastime, the band announced that they would embark on a tour to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of The Joshua Tree, and that Songs of Experience would be out before the end of 2017.

A number of songs made live debuts on The Joshua Tree 2017 tour. “The Little Things That Give You Away” debuted on opening night of that tour, and was played a number of times on the first and second leg of that tour, including a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. At the end of the night, when the song has been performed, U2 has displayed an Anton Corbijn photograph on the screen of Bono’s son Eli, and Edge’s daughter Sian holding hands, which many have theorized will be the album cover. “The Blackout” debuted on July 28, 2017 while the band were appearing in Amsterdam, but not at the tour. Instead, fans were invited to a taping of the video, in which the song was played five separate times while the band and audience were filmed. Finally “You’re the Best Thing About Me” has debuted at a performance at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on September 7, 2017 the day after it was released as a single. It made its debut on the tour on September 10, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

On August 29, 2017, U2 announced that “You’re The Best Thing About Me“ would be the first single from the album. At the same time they announced “The Blackout“ would be released as a streaming only video prior to the release of the single. “The Blackout“ was released as a Facebook streaming video on August 30, 2017. “You’re The Best Thing About Me“ was released as a single on September 6, 2017. A remix version of the song, as well as an acoustic version of the song were released later the same month, as well as a number of videos. On October 26, 2017, it was announced that a single for “The Blackout“ would be released on Record Store Day’s Black Friday event, November 24, 2017.

The announcement of the album came on November 1, 2017, after a number of information leaks. The album will be released December 1, 2017. Four formats have been announced for physical editions, a regular CD, a deluxe CD, a regular 12-inch vinyl pressed on two blue discs, and a box set which will contain the deluxe CD and the 12-inch vinyl sets along with additional materials such as a poster and newspaper. In Japan, there will be a bonus track included on the deluxe CD set, and that song will be “The Blackout (Jacknife Lee Remix)”. The regular album will consist of 13 tracks, and the vinyl will include one additional song, as well as two remixes. The deluxe CD will contain the same bonus materials as the vinyl, but will add an additional remix.

Also on November 1, 2017, two songs were made available for immediate download and could be purchased separate or as part of the album. “Get Out of Your Own Way” and “The Blackout” were both made available in this manner. “The Blackout“ will also be released as a limited 12-inch record on November 24, 2017. A third song, was also released by mistake on November 1. When purchasing a physical copy of the deluxe album from U2.Com subscribers could download “Get Out of Your Own Way” and “The Blackout” but early subscribers found they also had a copy of “American Soul” available to them. This mistake was quickly identified and within hours that song was no longer available.

Liner Notes

You’re The Best Thing About Me:
Producer: Jacknife Lee, Steve Lillywhite, Ryan Tedder. Additional keyboards by Jacknife Lee. Additional programming: Ryan Tedder, Brent Kutzle, Jacknife Lee. Strings: Davide Rossi. Engineered by Rich Rich, Jacknife Lee, Tyler Spry, Matty Green, Matt Bishop. Recording Engineering: Duncan Stewart, Richard Rainey, Greg Clooney, Christopher Henry, Alan Kelly, Gosha Usov. Assistant Recording Engineer: Barry McCready. Mixed by Kelana Halim, Tom Elmhirst, Steve Lillywhite. Assistant Mixer: Brandon Bost.

Get Out Of Your Own Way:
Written and performed by U2. Spoken words: Kendrick Lamar. Additional Keyboard by Jolyon Thomas, Gosha Usov, Brent Kutzle. Additional Guitar: Jolyon Thomas. Additional Vocals: Ryan Tedder. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, Brent Kutzle, Ryan Tedder, Jacknife Lee, Jolyon Thomas. Engineered by Tyler Spry, Matty Green, Rich Rich. Recording Engineer: Drew Bang, Matt Bishop, Declan Gaffney. Assitant Recording Engineer: Gosha Usov, Christopher Henry. Mixer: Tom Elmhirst. Assistant Mixer: Brandon Bost.

The Blackout:
Written and performed by U2. Keyboard, programming and additional guitar by Jacknife Lee. Produced by Jacknife Lee, Brent Kutzle, Ryan Tedder. Engineered by Rich Rich, Declan Gaffney, Tyler Spry, Matt Bishop. Assistant Recording Engineer: Christopher Henry, Barry McCready, Dave “Squirrel” Covell. Mixed by Jacknife Lee. Assistant Mixer: Matt Bishop.

You’re The Best Thing About Me (U2 Vs. Kygo):
Performed by U2 & Kygo. Produced by Kygo, Jacknife Lee. Remixed by Kygo and Miles Walker. Assistant Mixer: Ryan Jumper. Assistant Recording Engineer: Dave “Squirrel” Covell. Mastering Engineer: Scott Sedillo, Matt Bishop. Additional keyboard and programming: Jacknife Lee.

Artwork

Photography by Anton Corbijn. Design by Amp Visual.

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