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22-Jun-2020 07:02

We want this stuff to enter the language.” It’s quite apparent that the delay and subsequent reboot of the album has given it a freshness and urgency that may otherwise have been lacking. Somehow, the band has managed to capture some of the white knuckle, less complicated live U2 sound in the studio. “There’s been an attempt to look back at our position, which is rarefied in many ways, but there’s also humanity in our shared experience. “At 57, you view the time ahead of you differently to the time behind you.” The last word is with Bono, who writes: “I wanted to dive naked into these Songs Of Experience, not just skinny dipping with the ones I love, I wanted to take my skin off.” Being constantly in the spotlight has made U2 easy targets. A recent New Scientist article "The most ancient piece of you" (4 November 2017) discussed the common ancestors of living beings today.But are plants included in this universal common ancestor?The Edge says: “We knew we wanted something that chimed with Songs Of Innocence, which featured Larry and his son. If it had just been the two of them, it would have been a little too sleek but the military helmet gives it that little tension.

“I was on the receiving end of a shock to the system myself, a shock that left me clinging on to my own life like a raft,” he writes. I was arrested.” He describes “facing a wall with my hands up over my head . Bono’s keeping a firm lid on exact details but has allowed me access to his stream of consciousness thoughts about his trauma of body and mind. Though he feels “fantastic now, stronger than ever,” he suggests the songs have an impetus behind them that demonstrate “the turbulence I was feeling at the time of writing.” The album reflects a crisis of faith in Bono that he had “to fight even harder for” and it recognises a world shifting on its political axis, where extremes are replacing tolerance, where democracy is under siege.In 2014, when I met all four members on an idyllic, sun-dappled autumn afternoon in the south of France, they talked of a quick-fire companion album to that year’s Songs Of Innocence. “Brexit and the American elections threw a completely different light on everything and Bono was going through issues to do with his health that were quite profound.But huge interest in The Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary with its extended run of celebratory shows was just one factor behind a longer gestation period. “He wasn’t physically well and was in a place where he wanted to reconsider lyrics.In the past week, I’ve spoken to two of Bono’s brothers in arms, guitarist The Edge, on the phone from LA, and bassist Adam Clayton, in a quiet corner of a pub in London’s Maida Vale.They’re thrilled with the new album, which I believe is U2’s best since the turn of the millennium, but acknowledge the recent stress on their frontman.

“I was on the receiving end of a shock to the system myself, a shock that left me clinging on to my own life like a raft,” he writes. I was arrested.” He describes “facing a wall with my hands up over my head . Bono’s keeping a firm lid on exact details but has allowed me access to his stream of consciousness thoughts about his trauma of body and mind. Though he feels “fantastic now, stronger than ever,” he suggests the songs have an impetus behind them that demonstrate “the turbulence I was feeling at the time of writing.” The album reflects a crisis of faith in Bono that he had “to fight even harder for” and it recognises a world shifting on its political axis, where extremes are replacing tolerance, where democracy is under siege.

In 2014, when I met all four members on an idyllic, sun-dappled autumn afternoon in the south of France, they talked of a quick-fire companion album to that year’s Songs Of Innocence. “Brexit and the American elections threw a completely different light on everything and Bono was going through issues to do with his health that were quite profound.

But huge interest in The Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary with its extended run of celebratory shows was just one factor behind a longer gestation period. “He wasn’t physically well and was in a place where he wanted to reconsider lyrics.

In the past week, I’ve spoken to two of Bono’s brothers in arms, guitarist The Edge, on the phone from LA, and bassist Adam Clayton, in a quiet corner of a pub in London’s Maida Vale.

They’re thrilled with the new album, which I believe is U2’s best since the turn of the millennium, but acknowledge the recent stress on their frontman.

“The history of this band is precious and we realise we mustn’t break up, mustn’t die and that the legacy of what we do should continue.” In Bono’s notes, he talks of being dared by his friend, the poet Brendan Kennelly “to write as if you’re dead.” Mortality is on his mind when he says of the new songs: “A lot of them I approached with the sense that I might not be around to hear them on the radio or in the stream of things. I’d thought a lot about not being around so I made these songs love letters.” There are affectionate “letters” to Bono’s wife and love of his life Ali called You’re The Best Thing About Me and Landlady. like your pain.” The Little Things That Give You Away, pointed and self-deprecating, speaks of “the words you cannot say, your big mouth in the way” and is the singer’s letter to himself.