A couple of days back, Billboard emphatically stated that sources close to the U2 camp said that any new album and tour has been put off until 2015. Given how U2 seemed to be ramping up for something (the soundtrack song, the Super Bowl commercial with the free song giveaway, the Oscar performance, the Jimmy Fallon appearance), that came as something of a surprise.
Then again, I recall a conversation I had last year with Steve Lillywhite, a guy who has worked on a bunch of U2 albums. “U2 is very good at making albums,” he said, “but they aren’t very good at finishing them.”
But now there’s a new story. U2 is “on track” to release an album sometime this year. Um, okay.
How much of this confusion is due to the change in management? When Paul McGuinness was in charge of the day-to-day operations, the band and their organization spoke as one unit. This hasn’t been the case with Guy Oseary, their new manager.
The other thing to consider is the pressure that must be coming from Universal, U2’s label. Failure to deliver on a planned album in this fiscal will have dire consequences on Universal’s bottom line–something that no label wants to contemplate. You can bet there were a lot of frantic phone calls over the past couple of days.
And in case you’re counting, it’s been 5 years and 12 days since No Line on the Horizon was released.