"Civilization / Civilisation" (2015)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Civilisation” is a track being developed for the album Songs of Experience. It is possibly written as “Civilization”.

“Civilisation” was first mentioned in April 2015, as Jon Pareles of the New York Times interviewed the band. In the interview, published April 29, 2015, the band discusses recording the follow up to Songs of Innocence:

New producers have been joining the band in Vancouver, including Andy Barlow from the electronic group Lamb, who cued up some of the U2 tracks in progress like “Red Flag Day,” “Civilization” and “Instrument Flying” as Bono enthusiastically sang along with himself. “We’re keeping the discipline on songs and pushing out the parameters of the sound,” Bono said. “They’re very basic earthy things, irreverent. They’re not lofty themes. One of the things that experience has taught us is to be fully in the moment. What’s the moment? Pop music.”

“Civilisation” was mentioned again in Q Magazine’s interview with the band in issue 351 (dated October 2015, but released in August 2015.) The interview was conducted by Dorian Lynskey who traveled with the band as they traveled between Boston and New York on the U2ieTour. The interview is credited to Dorian Lynskey, who interviewed the band when they were traveling between Boston and New York on the U2ieTour:

The only upside of the bike crash was that Bono had time to write. He’s so excited about the songs that he offers Q a lift so he can preview some of them. The songs he plays from his phone (credited to “NotUs”) sound vibrant and irresistable, especially “Civilisation,” “Instrument Flying,” and “The Little Things That Give You Away.” One acoustic demo, “Much More Better,” deals with his accident. He sings along: “I only sing to prove that I’m here.”

At the end of 2015, Q Magazine (February 2016 issue) released their preview of upcoming music for 2016, including a one page article on U2. The article draws from other sources and previous interviews, but there is also some new content, including a discussion with Adam Clayton and more info from Bono.

Last year, Bono played Q four new songs in various states of completion, “Instrument Flying” had a sleek, motorik quality. “The Little Things That Give You Away” was vibrantly anthemic; “Much More Better” was a deeply personal acoustic demo about Bono’s recovery from his bike accident; and the tense, heavy “Civilisation” sounded like a surefire album opener. Bono described Larry Mullen’s colossal drum roll in the middle of the song as “my favorite bit on a U2 album in years.” He also previewed an untitled, riff-heavy song related to Songs of Innocence’s “Volcano,” mentioned the titles “Landlady” and “Where the Shadows Fall,” and said that the producers so far included Slaves’ producer Jolyon Thomas and Andy Barlow of electronic duo Lamb. Elsewhere, he has talked about songs called “Red Flag Day” and “Get Out of Your Own Way.”

We suspect that “Civilisation” has become another song (“The Blackout”) and will not appear on Songs of Experience.

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