"Invisible" - U2

Digital Single

Track Listing:

Background Information

On January 12, 2014, U2.com announced that U2 would be releasing a new song, titled “Invisible” as part of an initiative with (RED) to support the fight against AIDS. On January 23, 2014, it was announced how the single would be released. The song would premiere in a sixty second video during the 2014 Super Bowl, and would appear simultaneously as a download on iTunes. The download on iTunes is a free download, and for each download, Bank of America would donate $1 to (RED) in the fight against AIDS. The song was made available in iTunes stores internationally and not just in the US store. A countdown clock was launched in advance of the download, and specified that the download would begin at 6pm EST.

In a bizarre incident, Irish DJ Dave Fanning played the new song by U2, “Invisible” on his January 16, 2014 radio show. He played the song twice, and spoke in detail about how it was the world premiere of the new U2 song. It wasn’t however a U2 song, it was a song from 2012 by a band called Dark Stares called “Bad Machine”. The song had been uploaded to YouTube the day before the RTE broadcast and was labelled as being a new U2 single. Fanning claims he didn’t fall for a hoax however, and two days later he confirmed on the radio that it was a prank. “We did point out that it was a spoof,” Fanning said speaking with The Sunday Times, “It was funny. There’s not much going on at night time on the radio.”

A video for the song was shot between January 6th and 11th at a hanger at the Santa Monica airport, which featured the band performing “Invisible” repeatedly for the video shoot in front of a crowd. The commercial was originally suggested to be an announcement of their new album, however Bono pulled the plug on that prior to the airing of the commercial in an interview with USA Today: “We have another song we’re excited about to kick off the album,” he says. “This is just sort of a sneak preview — to remind people we exist.” and stating that the song was chosen because “It’s the first one we finished”. A preview of the video was posted to YouTube on January 30, 2014, and featured 0:18 of the song as sung by a crowd. The line sung by the crowd “there is no them, only us” had appeared prior in the song “Rise Above” from the Spider-Man musical, and can also be heard in the performance of “One” at the 46664 concert in 2003.

The day of the release, the countdown continued to run and counted down to 6pm EST, and the 60 second commercial shot by Mark Romanek debuted just a few minutes later during the broadcast of the Super Bowl as had been planned. However, a direct link to the song was found much earlier in the day and publicized on social media sites, allowing fans to download the song well before the countdown. The song surpassed 2 million downloads in the first 24 hours, and Bank of America promised to donate $1 for ever download, not just for the first 2 million. The full video by Romanek is expect to download in the next few days.

“Invisible” was performed live for the first episode of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, and would be performed at every concert on 2015’s Innocence + Experience Tour but did not appear on the next tour in 2017.

Liner Notes

Invisible: Produced by Danger Mouse. Mixed by Tom Elmhirst.

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