Songs of Experience Track List
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-10-11)
Bono was on Australian radio today talking about the new album and during that conversation, mentioned the song “Landlady” as being on the new album. The song was mentioned before, but not in the most recent round of interviews. To date, we’ve not heard him mention that song title since the album was completed.
We have been keeping track of the songs that U2 have mentioned since the release of “You’re The Best Thing About Me” on September 6th, 2017. The following is the full list of songs that have been mentioned in interviews, both on radio, and in print:
- American Soul
- Get Out Of Your Own Way
- Love is All We Have Left
- Love is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
- Summer of Love
- The Blackout
- The Lights of Home
- The Little Things That Give You Away
- The Showman
- You’re The Best Thing About Me
That’s 11 tracks, but The Edge has recently mentioned there were 12 tracks on the album. The twelfth track? Most likely “Red Flag Day” which was played for listeners at listening sessions for the new album throughout the spring and summer. Other songs like “Much More Better,” “Tightrope” and “Civilisation” have not been discussed since much earlier in the year, and are likely no longer part of the project, or have changed to another song altogether. We suspect for instance that “Civilisation” has now become “The Blackout”.
Here’s a detailed look at the songs from some of these recent interviews:
Bono discussed this song in an interview with WXRT on September 6, 2017:
“American Soul” is a letter to America that deals with this, it’s not a place, this country is to me a sound of drum and bass, you close your eyes to look around. That’s the line Kendrick Lamar sampled for his song “XXX” but it’s about how we came to America, there was something of America in rock and roll, but what was it, it was a beautiful racial mix, that was what rock and roll was, gospel and the blues had a bastard child called rock and roll.” The song has been mentioned as a real rocker of a song by those who have heard the song in listening sessions this summer.
Get Out of Your Own Way:
Last week while in Mexico, U2 were filming a video for this new song, “Get Out of Your Own Way” with director Anton Corbijn. The song is said to be the second single from Songs of Experience. In an interview with Rolling Stone, on September 20, 2017, Bono discusses the song and its lyrics, “There’s a song called “Get Out of Your Own Way” where I’ve tried to use some biting irony to reflect the anger out on the streets ‘Fight back, don’t take it lying down you’ve got to bite back. The face of liberty is starting to crack, she had a plan until she got a smack in the mouth and it all went south like freedom. The slaves are looking for someone to lead ‘em, the master’s looking for someone to need him. The promised land is there for those who need it most and Lincoln’s ghost says get out of your own way.’”
On Australian Radio on October 11, 2017, Bono discussed the song “Landlady”. He said it was a song about Ali, who worked and helped to support the band in the early days while they were still building their career. (Many thanks to Adam for this information about today’s interview)
Love is All We Have Left
Bono discussed the song most recently in a Rolling Stone interview, “That same conversation also opens the album with a song called ‘Love Is All We Have Left.’ My favorite opening line to a U2 album: ‘There’s nothing to stop this being the best day ever.’ In the second verse, innocence admonishes experience: ‘Now you’re at the other end of the telescope, seven billion stars in her eyes, so many stars so many ways of seeing, hey, this is no time not to be alive.’ It’s a chilling moment – in the chorus I was pretending to be Frank Sinatra singing on the moon, a sci-fi torch song ‘love, love is all we have left, a baby cries on the doorstep, love is all we have left.” The conversation he mentions is the conversation between Innocence and Experience.
Love is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way:
In an interview with Dutch host Ruud de Wild on September 6, 2017, Bono mentions this song on the new album, “There’s another song called ‘Love is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way’ which is one of the really really powerful U2 songs.”
Red Flag Day:
“Red Flag Day” was one of the songs which has been played at a number of listening sessions for journalists and music industry people throughout the summer. It has not been mentioned in the more recent press for the album, but we suspect this is one of the songs that has continued onto the album. In an interview with MOJO Magazine in February 2017, Bono mentioned that this song, and “Summer of Love” both reference the refugee crisis in Europe saying, “Two songs that have a similar theme, about people running for their lives on the same Mediterranean that we’re running through the shallows. “Summer of Love” is achingly beautiful and empty. It could be a big song and it’s tiny. These are real tunes.”
Summer of Love:
As mentioned above, “Summer of Love” is a second song about the refugee crisis in Europe. This one however has been referenced more recently. The Edge in a conversation with Rolling Stone in September 2017 spoke in detail about the song: “There was a lot that went into that, but one of the jumping-off points was a CNN story about the gardener of Aleppo. It’s about this guy who ran a garden in Aleppo that he kept going through the entire war. It was a political statement to the entire world that he kept this garden going. He was this deeply philosophical character and to him it was an act of defiance to grow flowers in the middle of Aleppo. He actually wound up getting killed in an air raid, so it was a very sad ending, but Bono was really inspired by his defiance. When were looking at that song, we decided that should be the focus geographically.”
A video for “The Blackout” was released on August 30, 2017. The video was a live version of the song, and there will be a studio version of the song released on Songs of Experience Edge has confirmed.
The Lights of Home:
In the summer listening sessions, this song was introduced as The Edge’s favorite from the new album. It was also the song played to attendees after the shoot of the video for “The Blackout” in July. The Edge also spoke about this song in Rolling Stone in September 2017, “The process is that we slowly sort of start to put the cornerstone songs in place and then we fill in around them and get clues about the overall identity of the record. For me, one of the breakthrough tune was “The Lights in Front of Me,” which is now called “The Lights of Home.” We had very rock & roll verses in it that sounded really great, but it was a little retro. We kind of knew it was in the running because we just loved it so much, and then Jacknife did a more stripped-down arrangement. The drums were sort of an open question, so Larry went in and played drums, so it had the discipline of a very contemporary production, but then with this amazing, very beautifully played human drum part on top of it. I think because it was recorded on its own it can kind of occupy the sound spectrum that it does. It still sounds really modern, but it almost sounds like it has a hip-hop influence or rather an R&B influence than a rock one.”
The Little Things That Give You Away:
Fans are very familiar with this song, as it has been performed at a number of concerts throughout The Joshua Tree 2017 tour. The song has not appeared since the second leg of the tour however, but is expected to still finish the album.
Bono mentioned this one in MOJO Magazine back in February, saying, “It’s about singers. It’s not me.” and he gave an example of the lyrics, “The showman gives you front row to his heart/The shaman prays that his heartache will chart/Making a spectacle of falling apart/Is the heart of the show.” On September 6, 2017 in an interview with WXRT Radio he referenced the song as “A Showman” instead saying, “There is a letter to our audience called “A Showman,” about how not to trust performers.” but in Rolling Stone later in the month of September he was once again calling the song “The Showman” and he revealed another line from the song, “I lie for a living, I love to let on but you make it true when you sing along.”
You’re The Best Thing About Me:
“You’re The Best Thing About Me” was released as the first single from Songs of Experience on September 6, 2017.
The album, Songs of Experience is expected on December 1, 2017. More information about the forthcoming album is being continually updated in our discography entry here.