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"I think [the tour] will start small," says the Edge. "We certainly can't get any bigger then the last one."

by Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

In late 2010, U2 began recording a new album with producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton during downtime from their 360° world tour. They had little idea they were kicking off a four-year process, far and away the longest they'd ever spent on a single album. "The experiments and excursions we took with Danger Mouse at the start of the album recording were unashamedly unhinged and free of all critical judgement," says the Edge. via e-mail. "We were happy to suspend disbelief just to see where we could get to. Those early sessions were some of the most productive and fun U2 studio sessions I can remember."

According to Bono, who spoke to Rolling Stone over e-mail, the group ultimately recorded about 100 different songs. "We had great fun getting lost in the creative process," says the U2 frontman. "The thing that propelled us to reach deeper and aim higher was a new appreciation of the craft of songwriting." But he wasn't completely happy with the material produced in the early days. "We realized that some tunes are just better than others, some lyrics just more coherent, some soundscapes just more compelling," he says. "We found ourselves bored with material that just felt good or unique."

The Edge felt the same way. "At a certain point, as the songs were coming into focus, we could see that certain qualities, hallmarks of our work where not represented," he says. "This meant we needed to go off and write some new songs and rework a few that were almost finished."

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Black-and-white image features drummer Larry Mullen Jr. shielding his 18-year-old son

by Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone

U2 have unveiled the intimate cover image for their new LP, Songs of Innocence, which will be released in physical form on October 13th. The black-and-white photo, shot by Glen Luchford, shows drummer Larry Mullen Jr. shielding his 18-year-old son in a protective embrace. The band unveiled the image via their website on Friday morning, with frontman Bono explaining how the cover symbolizes the personal themes of the album.

"We've always been about community in U2, about family and friends," he says. "Songs Of Innocence is the most intimate album we've ever made. With this record, we were looking for the raw, naked and personal, to strip everything back. . . holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else's."

Slash defends U2's deal with Apple

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(Slash's comments on U2 begin at 2:13)

Guitar legend Slash has defended U2's controversial decision to team up with Apple and release their new album free to iTunes users.

Nick Bramhill, Irish Independent

The band was criticised by some in the music industry for giving away their LP Songs of Innocence to 500 million Apple iTunes customers.

And negative social media reaction also forced Apple to release a tool to remove the free album from its customers' accounts, with a dedicated webpage providing step-by-step instructions.

But Slash, former lead guitarist with Guns 'N' Roses, insists it was a clever marketing tactic, adding that it was a deal that only a band as big as U2 would have been able to cut.

Bono hits at 'haters' of iTunes album launch

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By Niall Murray, Irish Examiner

U2 lead singer Bono has labelled as "haters" the people who criticised the band online for the way their first album in five years was given away for free.

Songs of Innocence was gifted to an estimated 500m users of Apple's iTunes in a reported $100m (€78m) deal that coincided with the launch of the technology giant's latest devices almost a fortnight ago.

In a world exclusive, pre-recorded interview with RTÉ 2FM's Dave Fanning, the first DJ to play the album in full when it was released earlier this month, Bono said there has been some "real deliberate misunderstanding" of their relationship with Apple.

"This is a company which has, more than any other technological company, sought to get musicians paid," said Bono.

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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."

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