"The Showman" (2017)
“The Showman” is expected to be released on U2’s next album, tentatively titled Songs of Experience.
In February 2017, the song was mentioned for the first time, in an article published in MOJO Magazine (Issue 281, cover date, April 2017):
Of the songs Bono currently imagines will make the final tracklist, his current favourite is “The Showman,” “It’s like something from Rubber Soul,” he enthuses. “It’s about singers. It’s not me.” To illustrate his point he quotes the song’s lyrics to MOJO: “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.” Other likely inclusions are “The Best Thing About You Is Me” and “The Little Things That Give You Away,” while both “Red Flag Day” and “Summer of Love” reference the refugee crisis in Europe. “Two songs that have a similar theme,” says Bono “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.”
The song was mentioned next in interviews done during the promotion of “You’re The Best Thing About Me” when Bono appeared on WXRT Radio for an interview. In that interview, he referred to the song as “A Showman” saying: “There is a letter to our audience called “A Showman,” about how not to trust performers.” He expanded on that in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine later in September 2017:
There’s a song called “The Showman” which is a letter to our audience, it’s kind of about performers and how you shouldn’t trust them too much. It’s about me, haha. There’s a funny line, well, I think it’s funny anyway, “I lie for a living, I love to let on but you make it true when you sing along.?