There were reports in 2013 that the album would come out last fall, but by November, industry sources were saying a spring release was more likely. Earlier this year, Bono told USA Today, “We want [the new album] to come out this summer, but you don’t want to let anyone down.”
“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 told Billboard. “That magic that the band always seems to capture. . . they have yet to capture it.”
According to the report, the group had scheduled a tour that would’ve kicked off in September, but that concert promoter Live Nation is now rescheduling it for summer 2015. The group’s last big trek, the 360º Tour, was also delayed, but went on to become the highest-grossing tour ever, earning $737 million in 2010 and 2011.
Last month, Bono told BBC host Zane Lowe, “Until it’s on the radio or online, it’s not real. With U2, our album isn’t finished until it’s in the stores. It’s tricky getting us four boys across the line. I think our band has something and [fans] know we don’t just put albums out. We do think about it.”
In February, drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. blamed the album’s delay on the group dropping everything to record a song for the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The track, “Ordinary Love,” earned the group an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win. It has sold 115,000 copies to date and peaked at Number 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number 45 on the Digital Songs chart. The group had previously collaborated with Epworth on a mix of the song.
Guitarist the Edge told Rolling Stone earlier this year that the group had “about 30 songs we’re really excited about, in various states of being finished.” He also said that six or seven of those tracks were “mixed and ready to go” and that the new album was inspired by the music that influenced U2 in the mid- and late-Seventies. “That’s a rich period, one we’ve visited many times in the past,” the Edge said. “But it’s a very Dublin-centric record lyrically.”
At the time, he said the group had a few titles in mind and underscored that there was no release date set. “But we’re getting there,” he said. “We’re not, as we say in Ireland, up our own arse. But we do not want to let go of anything if we are not 100 percent happy with it.”