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."
Earlier this year, U2 attempted to launch a new album with great fanfare, debuting their new single "Invisible" during a Super Bowl commercial and allowing fans to download it for free on iTunes. They also played the song on the roof of Rockefeller Center during the first Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The song charted around the world, but it wasn't a huge smash and weeks later, word began to spread that the album was pushed back yet again.
U2 have been working on a follow-up to 2009's commercially disappointing No Line on the Horizon for about five years. They originally planned on releasing material from the No Line sessions on a disc called Songs of Ascent, but that plan was ultimately scrapped. The band has since recorded with producers Danger Mouse, Will.i.am, David Guetta, RedOne, Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. When the new album is released, it will be the longest they've worked on a single LP.
Earlier this year, U2 spoke with Rolling Stone's David Fricke about the new album. "We really want the songs to be right," said The Edge. "That's the only reason why we're not on tour – because we're so good at starting, not so good at finishing. That's always the way it's been."