Musical artists covering themselves isn’t an unheard of concept these days, but U2 is still going at it in an unusual way, reworking 40 songs from the band’s catalog for a new album in March, titled “Songs of Surrender.” They are not subtitling the album “U2’s Version” and the band is not involved in any contractual dispute that caused them to record soundlike tracks. Instead, The Age says, the four members wanted to “bring these songs back with us to the present day and facilitate a 21st-century reimagining, or else”.
U2 hasn’t announced the project through a press release or any official channels, but is spreading the word to fans. The long-awaited project (which many speculated last year was Bono’s memoir, “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story”) will arrive on March 17.
Hand-numbered photocopies of a letter written by Edge began showing up in fans’ mailboxes. In that letter, the band’s guitarist explained the intentions behind the new album. “The truth is that most of our work was written and recorded when we were very young. Those songs mean something completely different to us now. Some have grown up with us. Some we have outgrown. But we haven’t lost sight of what inspired us to write those songs in the first place. The essence of those songs is still in us, but how do we reconnect with that essence when we’ve moved on and grown so much?”
He added, “Music allows you to travel through time and so we started imagining what it would be like to bring these songs back with us to the present day and facilitate or otherwise, reimagine them for the 21st century. What started as an experiment quickly became a Became a personal obsession as many early U2 songs were reinterpreted. Intimacy replaced post-punk urgency. New keys. New chords. New tempos and new lyrics arrived. Turns out a great song is kind of immortal. Once we get to the original version. After paying our respects to each song begins to open up to a new authentic voice of the moment, who we are, and especially the singer Bono has become. … I hope you like our new direction.”
Fans have been able to piece together what they believe is the track list of “Song of Surrender” based on clues on U2’s Spotify playlist. On Tuesday, the site U2songs.com released what it believed to be the final track list based on those sources.
According to U2songs.com, a Morse code rendering of the album title found at the top of Edge’s letter to fans is also included in a video snippet embedded in exactly 40 of the band’s tracks, strongly suggesting that those 40 tracks are “dedication songs”. Remake for it.
It was expected that the 40 songs Bono used as chapter titles in his book would align with the 40 songs on the album, but this does not appear to be quite a correlation. There are 28 tracks that appear as chapter titles with what the website calls a “Morse code effect,” but then there are 12 other selections that vary from memoir to album.
U2songs.com notes that of the new album’s 40 self-covers, “All That You Can’t Live Behind” is the previous album’s best-represented, with five remakes, followed by “The Joshua Tree,” “Achtung Baby” and ” “Song of Experience” four each, “Boy,” “War,” “How to Destroy a Nuclear Bomb” and “Song of Safety,” two each from “Unforgettable Fire,” “Rattle and Hum” and “Zooropa,” ” One from Pop” and four non-album tracks According to the listing, no songs from “October,” “No Line on the Horizon” or the Passenger Side project were recovered.
Bono mentioned the album in his “Surrender” memoir, published in November, writing: “During the lockdown we were able to remaster 40 U2 tracks for the ‘Songs of Surrender’ collection, which gave me a chance to live through those songs again. Wrote this memoir. It means I can deal with something that’s been bothering me for a while. I’ve always felt that the lyrics to some songs were never fully written. They are now. (I think.)”
Bono did a short US and European solo tour behind his book, mostly spoken-word text from the memoir and some musical performance material, in November and December. He has announced an additional 11-date residency at New York’s Beacon Theater in April and May. diversity The Orpheum cited his Los Angeles show as one of the best concerts of the year, calling the show “Bruce Springsteen on Broadway combined with an acrobat act, figuratively and almost literally.”
U2 was celebrated in December at the Kennedy Center Honors. In an interview with The Washington Post before that show, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. said he didn’t expect the group to tour in 2023, citing the need for surgery as a reason. A new studio album has been in the works for some time, but interviews with band members for the Post story suggest it’s not yet close to completion.
diversity Representatives for the band could not immediately be reached to confirm details of the new release, which is expected to be officially announced soon.