U2 is currently in the midst of their highly successful Las Vegas concert residency, U2: UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere. Originally slated to conclude soon, the band has decided to extend the run into February 2024 due to overwhelming demand and positive reviews. While their focus remains on delivering stellar performances each night, the iconic group is also eagerly anticipating what lies ahead.
For their upcoming album, which lacks a title or release date, U2 is signaling a return to the roots of real, classic, guitar-driven rock. In a recent interview with Mojo, bassist Adam Clayton revealed, “We are turning the amps on.” He added, “I certainly think the rock that we all grew up with as 16- and 17-year-olds…that kind of power is something we would love to connect back into.”
It seems this direction may have started–or at least first been made public–by famed singer Bono. “I announced it, without discussion, as ‘an unreasonable guitar record’,” he commented. At some point, fellow U2 standard The Edge spoke to Bono about the comment, looking for more direction. “How unreasonable?” The Edge apparently asked, to which Bono replied, “As unreasonable as you’re ready to take it.”
The Edge himself appears enthusiastic about this shift towards a more guitar-centric sound. In his conversation with Mojo, he stated, “I think the guitar is coming back. I really feel it. And I would like to be part of that. I’d like to be the vanguard of this resurgence of guitars,” before excitedly adding, “I would love that to be the next U2 record!”
Currently, the prospect of entering the studio to work on the new album is on hold. Drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. is temporarily sidelined due to a health issue, preventing his participation in the Sphere shows. The band has indicated a reluctance to start recording without him, with Clayton noting, “Starting work on new songs is somewhat tied to Larry’s situation.”
U2’s last original material release was Songs of Experience in 2017. Since then, they revisited their catalog with an album of reworked hits titled Songs of Surrender in early 2023. Additionally, the band dropped a one-off single titled “Atomic City” to further promote the launch of their Sphere residency.