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The four members of the legendary Irish band tell TIME about another new album in the works--and its secret Apple project that might just save the music industry

Catherine Mayer/Cupertino and Malibu, Time Magazine

Many, many people really, really like U2. It hasn't always been easy to remember that fact amid the caustic--and often hilarious--responses to the band's Sept. 9 release of Songs of Innocence. U2's decision to team up with Apple to deliver the new album to every iTunes subscriber, unasked, raised valid questions about consumer choice and personal space in a world that routinely infringes on both. Moreover, while Apple paid U2 for the album, critics of the deal suggest this point may have been lost on iTunes customers who got it for free. If so, that messaging is certainly at odds with U2's intentions.

As an article in the new issue of TIME reveals, Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr believe so strongly that artists should be compensated for their work that they have embarked on a secret project with Apple to try to make that happen, no easy task when free-to-access music is everywhere (no) thanks to piracy and legitimate websites such as YouTube. Bono tells TIME he hopes that a new digital music format in the works will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music--whole albums as well as individual tracks. The point isn't just to help U2 but less well known artists and others in the industry who can't make money, as U2 does, from live performance. "Songwriters aren't touring people," says Bono. "Cole Porter wouldn't have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn't coming to a stadium near you."

U2, Songs of Innocence: first review

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Neil McCormick gives the first verdict on the new U2 album, Songs of Innocence, which was announced at the Apple iPhone and iWatch launch

**** (4 STARS)

By Neil McCormick, The Telegraph

U2 have announced the release of their 13th studio album, Songs Of Innocence, available now and free to all iTunes customers. And, after several years' gestation, five producers, ever-shifting release dates and Bono publicly fretting that the biggest band in the world was on the verge of irrelevance, fans will be relieved to hear that it sounds a lot like U2.

It is an album of big, colourful, attacking rock with fluid melodies, bright anthemic choruses and bold lyrical ideas. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that, despite apparently being created in a spirit of self-doubt, it sounds fresh and cohesive, bouncing out of the speakers with a youthful spring in its step.

On first impressions, Songs of Innocence is not an attempt to create a grand masterpiece that redefines the band, but rather, as the title suggests, to reconnect them with an elusive pop elixir of youthful energy and passion. Lyrically, it reflects on the past, on their origins as a band and as individuals, which is unusual territory for the usually forward-looking Bono and the Edge (who share lyrical duties). Lead single and opening track, The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) sets the confident tone, with its "oh-way-oh" choral chant, glam rock stomping rhythm and surges of grungy guitar.

U2's 'Songs of Innocence': A Track-by-Track Guide

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by Rolling Stone,

Here's what you need to know about the band's most personal album ever

U2 took the stage at Apple's product-launch press conference in Cupertino today and surprise-released their new album Songs of Innocence with a mere five seconds of warning. The album, which was delivered free to all of Apple's iTunes users (a half billion of them), is "very personal," Bono tells Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview about the group's 13th studio LP. Read his full interview here.

1. The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
Produced by: Danger Mouse, Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder
More than any U2 album before it, Songs of Innocence goes deep into Bono and the rest of bandmembers' teenage years in Dublin in the Seventies. The first song captures the big bang of Bono's musical awakening: the first time he heard the Ramones. "Everything I've ever lost now has been returned," Bono sings. "The most beautiful sound I ever heard...We were pilgrims on our way." It sounds like the band are very purposefully not trying to sound like the Ramones here, though - instead, the track starts with powerful, almost "Mysterious Ways"-like burst of guitar from the Edge, and is driven by a lilting Bono melody and an overdubbed vocal refrain.

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by Rolling Stone,

In his only pre-release interview, Bono takes us inside the story of the band's 13th album, which was released today for free on iTunes

U2 surprised the world today by releasing Songs of Innocence, their first album in five years, as a gift from Apple, available for free immediately to anyone with iTunes. The band made the announcement with Apple CEO Tim Cook at a Cupertino press conference for the new iPhone 6, capping the event with a performance of the album's first single, "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)." After a standing ovation, Cook said, "Wasn't that the most incredible single you ever heard? We would love a whole album of that."

"The question is now, how do we get it to as many people as possible, because that's what our band is all about," Bono said. "I do believe you have over half a billion subscribers to iTunes, so -- could you get this to them?" "If we gave it away for free," Cook replied. And five seconds later, the album was unleashed in the largest album release of all time.

U2 Still Planning to Release New Album in 2014

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"We've always said an album is expected this year," says a spokesperson for the band

By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

U2 fans may get their hands on a new album before the ball drops on New Year's Eve, possibly as early as next month. Reports circulated a few months ago that U2 were delaying the album until 2015 so they would have enough time to work on material with producer Paul Epworth, but a spokesperson for the band has told Rolling Stone that that timing is inaccurate: "We've always said an album is expected this year."

The news is consistent with reports in the Irish media that the album is coming out within the next few months, and Universal Music Venezuela and Universal Music Colombia briefly posted tweets saying the album was coming out in September.

Whatever the near future holds, U2 seem to be hard at work. The French newspaper Nice-Matin reported that the group shot a new video in Nice, France, the other week, and the Irish Times quotes a source saying there will be a single in September, an album in September or October and a tour announced in December, with dates beginning in April of next year. "It is believed," says the article, via U2 fan site atu2.com, that "the band will release it with little of the fanfare usually associated with a new U2 album."

By Nate Mardukas, KpopStarz.com

U2 Tour 2014: In a report by Billboard recently, the band U2 confirmed that the band, who revolutionized rock with their hit songs "With Or Without You", "Ordinary Love" and "Beautiful Day", among others, will have to move their set release date of the new record and tour until 2015 for a few reasons.

"It seems to be taking longer for them to finish an album as they get older, but the great thing about U2 is that the whole of a record is always better than the sum of its parts," a source close to the project reportedly said. "That magic that the band always seems to capture ... they have yet to capture it."

U2 Joshua Tree album added to US archive

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U2's 1987 disc The Joshua Tree is among 25 new additions to the US Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.

BBC News

The Irish band's fifth studio album spawned such hits as With or Without You and Where the Streets Have No Name.

The original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 musical Sweeney Todd and Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft have also been added to the archive.

Established in 2000, the registry contains recordings deemed important enough to be preserved for posterity.

Each year, 25 recordings that are at least 10 years old are added to the registry, which now includes 400 deemed to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

The oldest of this year's additions is The Laughing Song, a track by George Washington Johnson - the first African-American to make commercial records - that dates from around 1896.

The most recent, Jeff Buckley's version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, was recorded in 1994.

U2 album still 'planned for this year'

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Amid rumours that the band have halted work on the new album, a spokesperson has confirmed that U2 are on schedule for the 2014 follow up to No Line on the Horizon

Sean Michaels, The Guardian

Despite fresh claims that U2 have pushed their new record and world tour back to 2015, a spokesperson for the band has confirmed that their 13th album is still on course for this year.

The band, who are nearing completion of a record that was expected this summer, had been rumoured to halt plans on the new release and instead book studio sessions with Adele writer/producers Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. While the switch in producer from long-term collaborator Steve Lillywhite is yet to be addressed, a spokesperson for the band has dispelled claims that the album will be delayed until 2015: "U2's album is planned for this year, is still on track and touring plans haven't been confirmed yet," they told the Guardian.

By Andrew Hampp and Shirley Halperin

Billboard

Fresh off the Oscars, the band quietly delays its fall tour and album, while inviting Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth into the studio

The media blitz U2 has enjoyed during the first two months of 2014 has been virtually unrivaled - unless you're maybe Pharrell Williams and his Vivienne Westwood hat. Since mid-January, the band has won a Golden Globe; performed at the premiere of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and the March 2 Academy Awards; appeared on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter; and starred in a Super Bowl commercial funded by Bank of America and (RED) that debuted the track "Invisible."

Such momentum certainly signaled a proper return to music and touring was in the cards for U2 in 2014. The group had been diligently working with producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) on an album still described as "unfinished" in mid-February to The Hollywood Reporter. Billboard has confirmed with multiple sources, however, that the album has now been pushed back until 2015, with the band recently scheduling additional sessions with producers Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth. (Danger Mouse remains onboard as the project's central producer.) "It seems to be taking longer for them to finish an album as they get older, but the great thing about U2 is that the whole of a record is always better than the sum of its parts," says a source close to the project. "That magic that the band always seems to capture ... they have yet to capture it."

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By Hal Espen, Billboard

And the new album "won't be ready till it's ready," Bono says. "We know we have to spend a couple of years taking these songs around the world, so they'd better be good"

Just after Finnegan's pub opens at noon on a blustery, rainy, intermittently sunny winter day in Dalkey, a seaside suburb south of Dublin, Bono slides in the door and settles into a corner booth with his back to the wall and a wide-angle view of the establishment, like a wary gunfighter who wants to see what's coming. In a hoarse whisper, he orders tea and a plate of smoked salmon. His unimmaculate red-tinged quiff and tired eyes seem to be telling me this is a man who recently rolled out of bed.

The 53-year-old lead singer of the perennially biggest rock band in the world is quick-witted and preternaturally eloquent, but he also is one of the most interviewed humans on the planet, and he has a stash of well-rehearsed riffs that, understandably, tend to play on repeat. Once his throat is soothed by the tea and he's fully awake, however, I'm pleased to discover that the man loves to talk movies and has fresh things to say about them, ranging from Scorsese and Hitchcock to Wenders and Tarantino.

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