An Album of New Songs: A Deeper Look

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2022-07-28)

We’re always trying to piece together rumours shared with us about new U2 recordings and work. Of particular interest right now is two projects, one is Songs of Surrender, a set of re-invented old U2 songs expected to be released first. The other is an album of brand new songs, expected to follow next year, before U2 would go out on tour according to various rumours. We’ve been calling it the Album of New Songs for lack of a better name. Neither album has been announced at this point nor has either name been confirmed. We’ve spoken a lot about the reworked songs album, but there’s been some recent news about the other album, the one with new songs, and we thought it was time to pull together some information on this new release.

Dave Stewart, of Eurythmics fame, has been on a bit of a promotional tour for his new projects, and has shared some information about some recording being done at his new Bay Street Studios, which is located in the Bahamas. Stewart shares with TapeOp, “Yeah. I’m working with quite a few new artists. The space in the Bahamas is beautiful, with a Neve desk, the same as I have in my mini home studio in Nashville. In the Bahamas I have a full-on studio. In fact, it wasn’t quite finished in January, when Daryl Hall decided that he wanted to come and write some songs with me. At the same time, Bono texted me saying, ‘Happy New Gear’ instead of Happy New Year. The next thing, Bono and Edge were recording there. It was busy being built around them, but it’s done now.”

That recording session would have been in January 2022, which is after the time that the Songs of Surrender recordings were said to be finished. It is likely that this was work done on the new forthcoming album.

On January 27, 2022, Alice Cooper spoke with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM radio. During that interview he discussed he was working on two separate albums, something he was able to do because his preferred producer, Bob Ezrin, was working on a U2 project. Ezrin is a Canadian producer who has worked with a wide range of artists over the years including Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, Nine Inch Nails and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Ezrin most recently worked with U2 on the U2 At the BBC television special in 2017, where the band played a number of their songs with an orchestra. Ezrin produced the music. Ezrin has also been partnered with The Edge on Music Rising, and has worked with Larry Mullen on his solo work on Alice Cooper’s last two albums.

Finally we had been told that much of the work on the new album was pretty much complete back in April of this year, and that the band had spent some time in Ryan Tedder’s West Hollywood studio working on the album. An article about the studio shared, “Leafy, sunlit, and cool, musician and producer Ryan Tedder’s West Hollywood studio appeals to the likes of Beyoncé, Shawn Mendes, U2, and Adele for its supreme privacy, too. Security screening and a profusion of palms and ficus means there’s no chance of being snapped by paparazzi.”

In an interview in late 2019, prior to the pandemic, Tedder did mention his intention to work with the band, sharing, “I spoke to them just last week. We will work together on some new pieces when I am in Los Angeles. I think it’s their intention to make a record completely different from the last two. It will be easier. You know, it’s like a pendulum. When you make a very produced album, with so many instruments in it, the next project you want it to be more sparse, and you wonder, what if the disc had the sound of four musicians playing in a room?”

There may be some finishing touches still being done on the album. Rumours have reached us this week that the band is doing some final recording work in Dublin as well.

We also know work was done on the album in earlier sessions than those mentioned above. At the start of the 2019 tour it was mentioned that the band had been working on new material, and Dallas Schoo shared he thought fans would enjoy it. The band were also together for some recording sessions in May 2021 in London where they worked on some new material. They shared some of the material they were working on with Steve Lillywhite at that time and Lillywhite confirmed the band were quite excited about the material they were working on.

Adam Clayton has spoken about the songs, “I will just say that some of the tracks fill us with pride,” sharing that the band hoped to have the new album out in 2023. Bono shared in late 2021, “We’ve been talking, and are excited to work together again. In the next few weeks there will be some recording.” The Edge also shared, “there’s a lot of exciting music being created.” The album is not expected to be Songs of Ascent, as that title is being reserved for the collection of ‘hymns’ that the band hope to finish some day. Both Adam and Bono have suggested this will be an album of newer material without a focus on what the band has worked on before. Bono has expressed his desire to make a “rock album” this time out.

While we wait for an announcement of Songs of Surrender, we’re also very excited to know that an album of new material is substantially complete, if not complete at this point. We look forward to bringing you more information about these projects when they are announced.

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