U2’s New Album: What We Know

Original Story (U2Wanderer.org) by Aaron J. Sams (1998-11-07)

Last Updated: September 27, 2000

Bono: We Don’t Wanna Be In A Crap Band

Hot Press Music Awards, November 1998
Bono briefly discussed the the direction of the new album following the Hot Press Awards in Belfast:

“We’ve decided to write the tunes before we Record them this time. For years we’ve gone into the studio deliberately not knowing what we were doing and I think this time we wanna make a record as a band, as a quartet. We wanna make a really uncool record — raw — that sort of feels like we’ve gotta do. AND and we don’t wanna be in a crap band you know, and it’s got to be a great record or we won’t be a band”

Brian Eno: Our Idea Is To Create Joy
NME Online, November 18, 1998
Speaking at Queen’s University as part of the Belfast Festival, producer Brian Eno said:

“It’s too early to say what new ideas are coming up, but the only thing that is appearing as a theme, as an idea, is an attempt to do the most difficult thing in music, which is to create joy. That is extremely hard. It’s actually dead easy to make melancholy. It’s easy to make energy, it’s easy to make cleverness, it’s easy to make intrigue, it’s easy to make glamour. But it’s very very hard to make joy. To make music that really grips you and lifts you in some way. That’s hard. So that’s what we’re trying to do in some way.”

Bono: It’s Time To Make An Album That Is Very Direct
MTV Italy, January 1999
Bono spoke about headway on the new album in Italy:

“It’s time to make a record that is very direct and is about exactly what’s going on, however cool or uncool that might be. It’s time, at this point in the week, in the century, in the millennium, it’s time for actually no pose, no poise — just rock, uncool. That’s really what I think we’re gonna make. I have this idea in my head, just to write as if you’re dead — ‘cos when you’re dead, you know, you don’t care what people think and just go and say what you have to say”.

The Edge: We Have Decided To Drop All The Technology
The Irish Star, April 11 1999
Edge spoke of the new album: “Yep, there is some fine tunes already finished for the album.” He went on to say that the new album was back to basics for the band:

“The new album is U2 the band, back to the mid 80’s, we have decided to drop all the technology and get back to just drums, bass, guitars and vocals.”

Bono: You Write What’s In Your Heart
Jubilee 2000 Chat, June 11, 1999
Asked about work on their new album, Bono replied:

“It’s the sound of four people playing in a room, four people who have known each other all their lives. You have no choice of subject matter. You write what’s in your heart and on your mind — unless of course it’s crap, which means you thought about it too much.”

New Album Rumors Surface!
Last week of July 1999
Rumors about the new album surfaced on U2 newsgroups and mailing lists in late July. According to “sources” close to Polygram and the band, U2 have finished recording their next album and are currently on vacation. They will return to the studio in the early fall to listen to the new material and possible rework some songs. At that point, according to sources, the band will decide whether to either release a new album or to release the Best of U2: 1990-2000, with 2-3 of the new songs developed during their recent studio time. Both options have a release in time for the Chrsitmas season, with an arena tour beginning in April 2000.

Bono: Two Songs Until “Classic U2 Album”
MTV, September 1999
In an interview on MTV, Bono stated:

“We’re about two songs away from a classic U2 album. It’s hard to leave it, actually. It’s very exciting, you know, to be making a record with this group, I have to say.” When asked about the use of the term “classic,” he responded: “Did I just say that? I’m always amazed when I hear… because it just slips out, doesn’t it? Just throw in ‘classic’ describing your own music. I was born to be a rock star. That just goes with the job. I probably meant ‘classic’ in the sense of, it’s a record that only our group could have made.”

Bono: New Album is “Really Simple…Raw”
Jam! Showbiz, October 1999
Discussing the new album, Bono told Jam!:

“It’s really simple and its the most raw record – it’s just wide open emotionally. We’ve got to the point where it doesn’t matter if we push out the borders of embarrassment. There’s no fireworks on it. It’s just a really intimate record played by a rock ‘n’ roll band.”

Bono: “15 of the Best U2 Songs Ever Written”
Yahoo! Chat, March 2000
During an online chat, Bono stated:

“Our problem is that we love starting things and hate finishing them. We have 15 of the best U2 songs ever written, but we get bored with the technical side of things such as finishing the lyrics.”

An article about the chat is available here…
The chat transcript is available here…

The Edge: “It’s Gonna Be a Record People Play Alot”
burst.com interview, June 2000
During an interview with burst.com upon the launch of the online PopMart tour video, The Edge stalked about the new record:

“We’re turned on by great songs, great songwriting, soul is the key element above anything, I think it has to connect, it has to mean something, it has to reveal something. Great rhythm, and just great sound-different sounds than what we’ve ever used before, different arrangement styles and um, just a lot of experimentation.”

A story about the interview is available from music365

Bono: Our First Single is “Beautiful Day”
BBC Radio 1, July 2000

During an interview, Bono reported that the band are mising their new single, entitled “Beautiful Day.” Some lyrics:

“The heart is a bloom it shoots up through the stony ground.
There’s no room there’s no space to rent in this town.
You’re out of luck and the reason you had to care,
the traffic is stuck and you’re not moving anywhere.
You thought you found a friend to take you out of this place.
Someone you could lend a hand to in return for grace.
Hey, it’s a beautiful day don’t let it get away.
It’s a beautiful day don’t let it get away.”

New Album is Announced:

All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the first new all-U2 album in nearly four years, is slated for release on October 30 in Europe and the rest of the world and October 31 in the United States.

All That You Can’t Leave Behind tracklisting:

Beautiful Day Elevation Walk On Stuck In A Moment Peace On Earth Kite New York In A Little While Wild Honey When I Look At The World Grace

Update: 9.27.00:
AUDIO: 30 second audio clips of the songs are now available:

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