Tuesday, August 5, 2008

U2 Set Sale For a New Horizon

Exclusive: New Studio Album & Tracklist Revealed
It's the beautiful day millions of U2 fans around the globe have waited patiently to see for the past four years.

Now we can reveal details of the supergroup's long-awaited new album.

It is believed to be titled No Line On The Horizon and will be on sale in music stores on November 14.

The band's record company Universal has already registered the internet domain name nolineonthehorizon.com -- prompting speculation this will be the new record.

And among the songs to be released on what many music insiders are calling the band's best work to date are "Moment of Surrender," "For Your Love," "Love Is All We Have Left" and "One Bird."

Others include "If I Could Live My Life Again," "The Cedars of Lebanon" and "No Line On The Horizon."

Earlier this week a 19-strong film crew headed to the Spanish city of Cadiz to shoot a video for the band's first single from the new album although the band were not believed to be present.

Last night an insider said the U2 machine is gearing up for the release of one of the most keenly-awaited albums in recent years.

"The album is more or less all in the bag except for a few minor details," the source revealed. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this album as they do with every U2 album.

"But the word coming out is that the band is very, very happy with the end product and when U2 are happy it should be quite a piece of work. They're not easy to please."

Legendary producer Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with U2 for more than two decades, said the new album had blown him away.

It is the first original work since the band released the smash-hit How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in November 2004. It sold an incredible 10 million copies and picked up eight Grammy Awards.

But music commentators think the new record could be even bigger for Bono, the Edge, Larry and Adam.

U2 are also expected to announce details of a huge worldwide tour, which would almost certainly include a number of nights at the new O2 Arena in the Dublin Docklands -- formerly known as the Point Theatre.

In a flurry of activity, the group have just re-released their first three albums -- Boy, October and War -- in extended formats and with previously unreleased tracks.
It has led to that rare thing -- U2 making a mistake.

A quantity of the re-released War albums have been printed with incorrect track listings inside a booklet.

But ironically, it won't hit sales, as the botched items are likely to become collector's pieces.

Like a Song: Tomorrow

This is the 23rd in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]

"Tomorrow" is one of those songs that is special to me. Not so much for its melody, composition, or lyrics. I don't like it in the same way I love the energy of "Elevation" or the moving story told in "One." But I recognize the simple, yet urgent question the song revolves around:

Won't you come back tomorrow?

A question to which the answer will always remain a stunning blow from reality.


March 1, 1986. It was an early spring evening, just after dinner. My mother put a tape in the video recorder for me and my biovular twin sister. In all likelihood it was an episode of Nils Holgersson, a Swedish cartoon we adored.

My father wasn't feeling great, so he decided to go to bed for a while to see if he would feel any better. None of us could have imagined it would be the last time we saw him alive. But that evening, he died in his sleep. Without any warning, with no known illness. Only 36 years of age, leaving behind his wife and two 4-year-old girls.

Losing a parent at such an early age was an experience with great impact. Four-year-olds are just beginning to explore the world and become aware of other people and their relationship to them. Three to four years old is also the age at which we start to actively remember
significant events. The sad thing is, I don't have that many memories of my father. There's a handful of them, and everything else I know about him is through stories told by other people. So essentially, I miss someone I never really knew.

Somebody's outside
Somebody's knocking at the door
There's a black car parked
At the side of the road
Don't go to the door
Don't go to the door

After I became a U2 fan, I started reading up on the band's past to grasp some of its history. When I read about Bono's mother dying when Bono was 14, and then Larry's mother when he was 17, it gave me a sense of personal connection. Here were my newfound heroes, and they weren't sheltered from grief or misfortune. The death of their parents resembled my own experience: sudden and unannounced.

October was one of the last albums I bought, so it took a while until I heard "Tomorrow." But by then I already knew what the song was about. There was a palpable despair and fear in the song, fear of the awful truth that is inevitably revealed when "the door is opened." From the first time I heard it, it made me feel uncomfortable, because it gave me such a haunting sense of sadness. Although there are many differences -- Bono and Larry both lost their mothers instead of their fathers, and they were teenagers instead of young children -- the essence of the song remains the same: the longing of a child for a deceased parent. To me the song said: "I know how you feel, it's OK to be sad."

I'm going out
I'm going outside mother
I'm going out there

"Tomorrow" also became a symbol for the bond between the band members, emphasizing the remarkable relationship they have, especially the friendship between Bono and Larry. In a talk show interview in the '80s, Larry once said it was his favourite song.

In the book Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas, Bono admits that he can't remember his mother anymore, that he no longer knows what she looked like and what she was like. In a way, it must be even worse for him to not remember her, because he did know her for 14 years.

Who healed the wounds
Who heals the scars
Open the door
Open the door

For my mother, it was of course a great shock, suddenly being a widow, left behind with two little girls. She did her best to provide us with the security we needed, materially as well as mentally. The three of us developed a stronger bond, a bond that enabled us to mutually support one another while coping with such loss.

But as a child, I was quite serious about life and always less carefree than other kids my age. There was an awareness in the back of my mind that life wasn't just fun and that things could actually go wrong. There isn't always a safety net to save you when you lose your balance. Yet it also made me more independent, not expecting others to take care of things for me. I learned to think for myself and listen to my own intuition.

Of course, one gets used to the situation, so having only one parent is not something I think about every day. But sometimes, when relatives tell stories about my father, or when friends have funny accounts of things their fathers do, it makes me angry that my dad had to die so young and that I never had a chance to get to know him. It's a sense of frustration, which once again I can feel in the song, when Bono sings near the end:

I want you to be back tomorrow

I want it, I need it, yet it is impossible.

"Tomorrow" is a reminder that, however unwelcome, however unfair it may seem, death is a part of life. It eloquently expresses the emotions surrounding the death of a loved one in a harrowing piece of music and lyrics. That's why it will always be precious to me, like a gem: beautiful, but also hard.

Negotiations put U2 Tower in jeopardy

Gavin Daly

The future of the planned U2 Tower in Dublin is uncertain, with negotiations ongoing between the backers of the €200 million project and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA).

Geranger, a consortium made up of U2, Ballymore Properties, property developer Paddy McKillen, and architect Norman Foster, was named preferred bidder for the project last October. Paul Maloney, chief executive of the DDDA, said last month that he expected an agreement by the end of July, but no deal has yet been reached on the 130-metre tower.

"Given current market conditions, the DDDA and Geranger Ltd have agreed to extend the negotiation period to allow for further analysis and for design issues relating to the Dodder bridge," a spokeswoman for the DDDA said last Friday.

The DDDA has refused to comment on the timescale for the negotiations, which focus on financial, legal and technical aspects of the project.

The property market has suffered a dramatic slump since Geranger submitted its proposal for the tower, which would be topped with a pod-shaped recording studio for U2. In its annual report, published last month, the DDDA said the U2 Tower was due to be completed in 2011.

The Watchtower, the 120-metre tower that is part of Harry Crosbie's Point Village development, is under construction, although architectural sources said that its design had been changed to allocate more floor space to offices rather than apartments.

U2 warn of 'fake' concert tickets

Irish rock band U2 have warned fans that concert tickets currently being advertised for sale are not real, as they have not confirmed any live shows.

The group said reports claiming they are performing soon were "mistaken."

"There are no tour dates for the band at the moment, so please don't buy tickets for U2 shows you see advertised," they said in a statement.

The group added that any future concert announcements will be made first on their official website.

Last year they denied reports that claimed they were planning a series of concerts at the O2 arena in London.

The band have been working on new material since 2006, with producers including Rick Rubin, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.

A new album is expected later this year, and many online agencies are advising fans to pre-register for a predicted world tour in 2009.

Bono remembers U2's "Boy"


This could be the greatest comment on RollingStone.com ever: U2’s Bono was reading David Fricke’s review of the new reissue of Boy, and was moved to respond. Unfortunately, he maxed out our word limit in the comments section, so we’re just going to post his text in full here. We’re not going to attempt to boil it down, except to say that he does mention that the band is presently attempting to finish their most “complete and radical album yet.” Without further ado:

Entering the blogosphere, a review of BOY from the singer who was one at the time of recording… We the members of said post punk combo are very complimented by DAVID FRICKES 4.5 star review of our debut, an album we always believed in. I remember now a generous JON PARELES review from the VILLAGE VOICE in 1980, a line something along the lines of “this is peter pan, I hope they break up before they grow up”. Anyway, as my band mates and I attempt to finish our most complete and radical album yet, here’s my why and what i think is right and wrong about BOY having listened to it for the first time in over twenty years if you start from the pseudo british accent and the little reported fact that the singer sounds like a girl, things don’t look too promising …the annoying gene is present in self consciousness and self immolation… you do want to give the singer a slap for lots of reasons but let’s start with the pretentiousness….the singer has obviously been listening to SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES, JOY DIVISION and a few others whose combined archness and artfulness was just too much for the freckled face teenager from northside of DUBLIN…. neither fully protestant or catholic, IRELAND had left the boy with a face like a baked bean and in search of a nonregional identity…a theme that continues to the present.

As for the non lyrics that Wunderkind STEVE LILYWHITE had begged him to no avail to write… well….the excuse is that in the manner of another POP idol, IGGY, they were for the most written live on the microphone ..this was noble in its search for authenticity but a very flawed idea that almost gauges the eyes out of the albums open face but alas, the strengths way out weigh the weaknesses…maybe because it was an album about vulnerability.. BOY eschews the usual subject matter of rock and roll’s hurry to deface its own innocence through knowingness, sex, drugs etc in favour of a refusal to grow up …think GUNTER GRASS’s Tin Drum VOLKER SCHLONDORFs film of the novel released the same year as BOY…

if ninetynine percent of rock and roll is about sex this one percenter is about virginity and not wanting to lose it…malene├┐ss is more elusive here and I can see now why the album had such a connection in the gay community with songs like TWILIGHT and STORIES FOR BOYS.

Then there is the galling religious audacity of writing a song about agape love at eighteen years old….that alone deserves some gold stars as well as the custard pies.. I WILL FOLLOW is still a rush and a marker for innovation (the percussion in the drop was a bicycle spinning, wheels upside down and played like a harp with a kitchen fork…)

ADAM CLAYTONs bass is a revelation to me on this listen, and up there with JOHN ENTWISLE and PETER HOOK in its inventiveness… LARRY MULLEN too is jumping through hoops to create a circus of tom tom parts and spectral spectre like snaring…. giddying up and clearing the fence every time…. I agree with DAVID FRICKE that they are not yet a rhythm section in the traditional sense but maybe something more interesting … the ‘weight’ of U2….Steve LILYWHITES production deserves a lot of credit here for its sonic prowess, big music in little hands..

But the star of the show is THE EDGE some guitar credit must be shared with the groups that helped shape us,
people like PINK FLOYD, PIL and TELEVISION… guitar players like STUART ADAMSON VINNIE REILLY etc but there is something happening here that is truly special…EDGEs genuine genius developing on the blank and bleached
photographic paper…. avoiding all the obvious blues scales that blind every other guitar player that ever heard LED ZEPPELIN …THE EDGE finds some new colours for the spectrum of rock. Colours he now owns … owning a colour, wow .. imagine owning the colour yellow like VAN GOGH… EDGE owns, well im not exactly sure what colours they are… indigo or violet or crimson?… but you sense an emotional colour temperature that is unique to him… its his palette we’re painting from. he’s following the jazzmen’s maxim to “own your own tone and you will become contagious ” and as a result you can hear him show up in lots of rooms hes not in, isn’t that right…?

Surely this is the most influential guitarist since the great composers JIMMY PAGE, PETE TOWNSEND,NEIL YOUNG but remember he doesn’t have the history of the blues to plumb, these are unchartered waters…was to the English psychedelic revival we were also inspired by and plundering .. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN…they were better than us no doubt about it…with ECHOs CROCODILES a better debut on pretty much
every level… that and their next album HEAVEN UP HERE having the same effect on their moment as RADIOHEADS BENDS AND OK COMPUTER. It was all there… songwriting, playing and standing in front of the mirror type coolness but of course the pursuit of coolness is rarely the same thing as the pursuit of art. This was obvious to a lot of our contempories too BUT maybe not enough..im not not talking about Teardrops or the Bunnyrabbits or Wah Heat! but for many of our peers, the most important bit was lifestyle and the fashion piece which we clearly were not very good at. And it is very very important…An almost essential companion to greatness… From ELVIS to THE BEATLES THE WHO to THE STONES THE CLASH to PRINCE, STYLE has been part of rocks revolution and evolution…. our only addition is comedic failure to fit into the grey or vivid clothes of rebellion and the crime of thinking no veneer was the utterly radical way to look and sound…and then there’s the other thing, the lifestyle….of course the life of the artist is always more compelling than being an artist. To live in the garret with a knife in your hand and a bleeding ear is more romantic than the fragility that leaves open the wound … Bohemia is more attractive than suburbia but maybe you don’t live there, maybe you live on a street which is like any other street where the opera that goes on behind parted curtains is more than enough…..It was briefly for U2.

you can have everything the songs, the production, the face, the attitude but still not have “IT”…U2 had nothing really, nothing but ‘IT’… For us music was a sacrament …an even more demanding and sometimes more demeaning thing than music as ART, we wanted to make a music to take you in and out of your body, out of your comfort zone, out of your self, as well as your bedroom, a music that finds you looking under your bed for God to protect your innocence…

…i’m proud of this little Polaroid of a life I cant fully recall. As well as the ability to make embarrassing mistakes, the demands of a great debut might be fresh ideas, fresh paint and sometimes for its canvas, a fresh face.

I miss my boyhood.


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