"Songs of Experience" - U2

Album

Track Listing:

The tracks above may not be the final track list, but are all songs which have been mentioned in relation to “Songs of Experience” since June 2017. Older songs which have not been mentioned in some time such as “Tightrope,” “Civilisation” and “Much More Better” may have changed form since these tracks were first mentioned.

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.

The album is now tentatively expected to be released on December 1, 2017.

Liner Notes

Artwork

Photography by Anton Corbijn. Design by Amp Visual.

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