Saturday 21 April 2018

Creative logjam forces U2 to postpone the new album


Pressure: U2 aren’t taking risks
Pressure: U2 aren’t taking risks
John Meagher

John Meagher

Some weeks ago, I wrote about the creative logjam that U2 appeared to be in. Now, there's no need for such speculation because the news that they have put back the release of a new album until next year confirms those difficulties.

They had been working with Brian 'Danger Mouse' Burton and the fruits of those sessions were revealed on the underwhelming single, Invisible, and the Mandela-themed song, Ordinary Love. But now, it's reported that other producers have been brought on board, including Paul Epworth, and Ryan Tedder.

It's beginning to resemble the torturous work behind their last album, 2009's No Line on the Horizon, when at least six months of sessions with Rick Rubin were scrapped, and the band resorted to the tried-and-tested in the form of long-term collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.

U2's status as one of the world's biggest bands over the past 30 years is looking more like a millstone than ever. Every new album is supposed to be a grand statement with an ever-bigger global tour to follow. That's enormous pressure for anyone to put themselves under and it's a shame because the fleet-footed U2 of the past were willing to put out albums like Zooropa that had a beguiling, improvised feel to them.

There's nothing fleet-footed about how they have operated since the turn of the Millennium and there have been no signs of genuine risk-taking either. 1997's Pop might be among their most intriguing albums, but the lukewarm reception it was afforded in their US heartland seemed to permanently push them into the stadium rock template that they had made their own.

With their buddy and confidante, the Daily Telegraph critic Neil McCormick, tweeting that the album may not appear until 2017, U2 fans might be left holding their breath for quite a while.

* Who would be a ghost-writer? First Paul Kimmage and Brian O'Driscoll fall out. Now it's the turn of Olaf Tyaransen and Sinead O'Connor. The Hot Press scribe, once described by O'Connor as "a f***ing amazing writer" had started work on her memoir in 2012, before the two went their separate ways.

And it looks as though the parting was far from amicable judging by their exchange last week. O'Connor was annoyed about a question Tyaransen allegedly put to the songwriter John Grant and she took to Twitter to lambast the journalist. Olaf's tweeted response? "We agreed we'd never contact each other again." Ouch.

* Forbidden Fruit is back for two days over the June bank holiday in Dublin's Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Public Enemy, Warpaint and The Flaming Lips are the pick of a bunch. See

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