What’s This Mysterious U2 Letter All About?

Pre-release hype for an album, if done right, can be a lot of fun, especially if an element of mystery is carefully injected into the proceedings. Arcade Fire is good at it (well, mostly). So is Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, the Foo Fighters and (as we’re seeing right now) Taylor Swift.

U2 seems to be engaged in a little mystery and misdirection ahead of Songs of Experience which is expected to be released December 1. On the day the sun was blotted out by the moon (August 21), some strange letters began arriving in the mailbox of U2 fans in Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina–areas roughly along the path of totality of the August 21 solar eclipse. All the letters seem to have been mailed from LA on August 18.

The snail mail features information on Songs of Innocence and Experience, the 46-poem collection by William Blake. After that–well, take a look.

If you were at any of the Joshua Tree 30 shows, you’ll recognize the silhouettes as Bono’s son Eli and Sian, daughter of The Edge who is wearing an army helmet. That photo was shown during those gigs.

So what have the words not blacked out? Strung together they read “Blackout. It’s clear who you are will appear. U2.com.”

Then we have the redacted bit at the end which reads “U2 will announce [blacked out] on [blacked out].” Based on a variety of rumours, guesses are that the second half of this sentence reads “U2 will announce their new album Songs of Experience on 09/09/2017.”

Neat idea, huh?

More details here and here. Thanks to everyone who forwarded this information.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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