"Every Breaking Wave" - U2


Track Listing:

Background Information

“Every Breaking Wave” was the second single released from Songs of Innocence. There was no physical commercial release for the single and only digital editions exist.

“Every Breaking Wave” was originally planned for inclusion on No Line on the Horizon. Right up until last few weeks of work on the album, the song was included, and a preview article in Rolling Stone discussed the track as being part of the album. The plan was to save it for a second companion album, Songs of Ascent, and to use it as the lead single from that album. That album was delayed from a fall 2009 release, and a number of additional times, and U2 would not release an album until 2014’s Songs of Innocence, where the song would appear. In the meantime, however, U2 did debut the song during the U2360° tour in Europe in 2010. The song was re-recorded in studio between the planned version for No Line on the Horizon and the version eventually released on Songs of Innocence.

The song was initially sent to radio in Europe in November 2014, and the version sent was the album version, or a slight edit of the album version. This release was sent out digitally as well as on CDR. (Be cautious fake CDRs do exist). A new mix of the song was first delivered to radio in Europe by Universal Music around January 23, 2015. This was a new recording of the song and it differs from the album mix. It was initially sent via digital means to radio, and was titled “New Version.” More information about these promotional releases can be found in the “Every Breaking Wave” promotional entry.

On February 23, 2015, the song was made available to stream on U2.com at a quality of 256kbps. This stream was the only version made available for months, but on May 2, 2015 an announcement was made that the song would now be available for download for U2.Com subscribers. The song was made available to download on your account information page. The file downloaded from U2.Com was at a higher quality than the earlier streaming version, now at 320kbps. The song is the same mix as the earlier version that was streamed. Attached in the download was the image shown in the entry above, without a subtitle explaining the name of the song. The version that had streamed at U2.com prior had no image embedded.

On January 18, 2019, four years after the song was initially released, the song was delivered to digital store fronts for purchase. The version available was also the “New Radio Mix” and was made available worldwide at a variety of qualities including uncompressed versions in stores like 7 Digital and Qobuz. The version sold in stores was subtitled “New Radio Mix” on the digital image attached to the file, as well as in storefronts. The release has been ‘back dated’ when it was released to February 23, 2015 and is listed under that date in shops so it does not show up as the most recent release. Although available free to U2.com subscribers in 2015, this 2019 release was the first commercial release of this mix to the general public, and the first time the song was commercially released in an uncompressed audio format. It is also the first time that this version of the song is being made available to commercial streaming sites such as Spotify.

The track has been sent out under a variety of names including “New Version” (digital radio promotion), “New Radio Mix” (U2.Com streaming file in February), “Radio Mix” (U2.Com subscriber download in the file), “Radio Edit” (U2.Com subscriber area where you download song.) For the discography we are using the name “Radio Mix” which is what it was called as a subscriber download.

The single was accompanied by a music video, filmed by Irish director Aoife McArdle. Two versions exist, a 13:17 film which debuted on February 12, 2015, and a shorter 04:38 video format which was an edit of the longer version of the film which appeared on February 22, 2015. The video was filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland in December 2014, and featured a love story of two young people caught on opposite sides in the midst of The Troubles in the ’70s. A third video used for international broadcast and promotion of the song was released on October 26, 2014, and was filmed in Metropolis Studios in London. This video is called the “Power House Acoustic“ version.

As mentioned above, the song debuted in U2’s live sets five years before it appeared as a single, as part of the U2360° in 2010. The song debuted in Helsinki, Finland and was performed on three dates of the tour that summer. The song would then be used extensively for promotion of the album during the Songs of Innocence promotional tour in the fall of 2014. The song was a centerpiece on the 2015 tour, Innocence and Experience, promoting the album. Since that tour it has not appeared regularly as part of the tours that followed but remains a song that U2 bring out for special occasions, having been heard at events like the 2016 appearances at the iHeart Music Festival and Salesforce Dream Fest, again in 2017 as the band performed with an orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, and in 2018 at one-off appearances at the Apollo Theater, and at the Beach House performance in Massachusetts.

Liner Notes

Every Breaking Wave (New Radio Mix):
Produced by Declan Gaffney, Ryan Tedder and Danger Mouse. Written by Bono and The Edge. Music by U2. Assistant Recording Engineer: Adam Durbridge. Engineer: Kennie Takahashi, Declan Gaffney. Mixed by Joe Zook, Ben Baptie. Dulcimer by Bono. Additiional keyboards: Declan Gaffney, Brian Burton, Ryan Tedder, The Edge.

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