'This Is About Songs.'

23 Sep 201416
On Sunday, RTE broadcast a 2 hour 'Songs of Innocence' special in which Bono had a lengthy conversation with Dave Fanning.
Listen in on our Community pages.
Dave has a special place in U2 folklore - not only has he been playing their music since the late 1970's but every time a new album arrives, he gets to air the lead track first. So if you haven't got time to listen to the whole of Sunday's show, here's eight things we learned from Dave's chat with Bono.

The release of Songs of Innocence via iTunes was the technological equivalent of fly-posting the band’s lyrics all over Dublin back in the 1970s.
'Mrs Edge, our first roadie,' recalled Bono, 'Used to drive us in the VW Beetle in the middle of the night with rolls of wallpaper with the lyrics of our songs, and all sorts of things on, and we used to fly-post all over Dublin, aged 18 or 19. The whole point of being in a band, in the days of punk rock, was to be in your face. Even if you weren’t looking for us, we were there.'
With Songs of Innocence, he explains: 'People who would not normally be exposed to our music have got a chance to listen to it. Whether those songs will be important to them in a week’s time, we don’t know. But they’ve got a chance - and that’s got to be exciting for a band that’s been around for as long as we have.'

Songs Of Innocence is not an experimental album. It's about songs.
'Why is it not like Zoo Station? Why is it not like Zooropa? It is not an experimental album. It is easy for me to blow your mind sonically. We can play with the desk and set off fireworks - U2 can do that all day. But this is about songs, which is a much more difficult thing to pull off... The production is not what we were about here. We were about getting out of the way of the songs.'

‘Iris’, written about Bono’s mother, contains a name-check for Kraftwerk.
'My mother [died] just as I was discovering girls. One of the girls I was discovering was Ali... she arrived at Mount Temple in the same month. The first lover’s gift I gave Ali was a Kraftwerk album called Man Machine. So I referred to that.' ‘[It was you made me your man/Machine.’]

The new album was released, through sheer coincidence, 40 years to the day that Iris died.
'Sometimes the things that have the most powerful influence over you are from way back. You’re looking at the night sky and those beautiful stars - a lot of them are gone, even though you’re still in their light. The idea that [Songs of Innocence] went out the same day, 40 years after she left us, is kind of magic.'

'Invisible', released earlier this year to support the fight against AIDS, will feature on the physical album, coming in October. 
‘Invisible’ is about U2‘s first ever journey to London. In fact, the album is “all about first journeys. California’ is about first time in LA and all of that. ‘Song for Someone’ is about the awkwardness of falling in love and sex...'

The band needed a woman’s touch on this album.
It arrived courtesy of Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li, who provides the hypnotic vocal to the chorus of ‘The Troubles’ (described as 'an uncomfortable song about domestic violence').  'She puts us all under a spell with her music. We needed a feminine spirit; she was the right one.'

Expect a companion album, Songs of Experience, to arrive a little sooner than this one.
'I think Songs of Experience will come a lot quicker,' says Bono. 'But to explain the wait: we wanted to keep pushing up the level. We wanted songs that would stand up if you played them on an acoustic guitar or piano... eternal songs, the ones that people hold onto ... these songs are rare, they’re like miracles, and they’re almost impossible. If you hear ‘Every Breaking Wave’ played on a piano, you just fall over. And if it doesn’t move you, you’re either deaf or dead, or you should be.'

Bono challenged Steve Jobs to transform iTunes.  A visually captivating digital format is in development.
'Five years ago I began a conversation with Steve Jobs. I said to him, ‘For a person who cares about how things look and feel more than anyone else in the world, how is it that iTunes looks like a spreadsheet? Why can’t we dip into artwork like we used to before with the gatefold sleeve? Why can’t I disappear into a world created by artists? So he made a promise to me that we would work on this together, and we have ... It’s not ready yet for Songs of Innocence; it will be ready for Songs of Experience.  It’s a new format. I’m very excited about that.'
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The Troubles and my addiction
I was recently in rehab for addiction. The song "The Troubles" rang in my head over and over the whole 10 weeks I was there, alone, dealing with my trouble. That song represented my addiction- somebody stepped inside my soul and took control. God knows it's not easy. Now I am in recovery and that song means a lot to me. Thank you Bono.
Does this mean that we get the original version of Invisible on the physical release? Beautiful album, great work guys. Can't wait to see you live.
Songs of innocence
This album is brilliant !! Its in my head after 3-4 listens! I'm constantly humming it when I'm not playing it. Thanks guys for the gift can't wait for the tour
Wonderfully said!
With his wonderful explanations, Bono truly expresses his great willingness to concentrate on the essence of songwriting. The new album contains some of the most touching and personal lyrics he has ever written. Songs of Innocence puts all distractions aside and captures everything great music is about: The sincere revelation of deep emotion, heart, soul, sorrow, joy, rage and love. An exceptional piece of art!
I am thrilled of the Songs of Innocence as well...what's gonna happen to the 'eternal' ones? :D I try to understand the lyrics as well, sometimes it's hard ...specially when Bono sings 'I don't believe anymore' but I guess (or hope) that is just the 1st person sg. narrator thoughts.
Dave Fanning is an absolute legend; he soundtracked my youth. U2 is very good also ;)
One little thing Bono..
Please stop saying in interviews that you sang like a girl (whatever that is) in the early days.. I was present at many of those early concerts - starting October 1980 in Amsterdam - and I can assure you.. That Was By Far Not The Case, haha.
Great Interview
I really enjoyed Dave's interview with Bono. It was very interesting and informative. I liked it a lot.
Another gift...
Thank you so much! The best part of any U2 album is each song's ability to grow and change every time you listen...they never sound the same twice. And with every listen, another lovely secret is revealed! Whether it is 'Songs of Innocence' or 'Boy', every album is brand new, every time I listen...what a gift you all have..thanks for sharing it with us...I am so glad I am here on earth while you are!
She still is....
Dear Bono, About your mother, you still have my condolences. Iris is said to be the original greek word for "Rainbow Goddess". The Rainbow Goddess she always was and will ever be. She is still wrapping around you, her ever loving energy.
No one can interview U2 like Dave
Great interview for a great Album. Thanks Dave and Bono. I feel like I understand the album more. I've been a fan since the beginning, this is a wonderfully interesting album, I haven't stopped listening to it since it's release. The album live will be amazing.
Accept it for what it is.
Agree totally on the sentiment expressed about the album not being an Achtung Baby or a Zooropa etc. I, like the band and everyone else should have moved on from then. That would have nearly been too easy. A fantastic new group of songs has been delivered by the band. Every track - it's own little star. Eagerly awaiting the full release next month. And yes Bono, agree totally, the mock outrage at the ITunes release by some is 'complete boll**ks'. That made me laugh.
great interview
Really enjoyed the interview.
New Music format
Hi Bono, You're probably f**ing knackered with all the press stuff over the past week or two - Anyway - the album is smashing. You really got me with Iris... never did a song paint such vivid pictures for me. Regarding the new music format, I am a techie... I actually live inside the chip thats on your credit card.. I am an EMV (electronic payments, chip and mobile) specialist.... If you take that cosmic place where U2 live, and invert it, you will find my microcosmic world. I would love to be involved in this new format - Can I help out, somehow? Thanks, Shane
"...All I know and all I need to know is
There are no words to express accurately the emotions your songs, melodies, lyrics, brought to my life, and many others, I am sure. Your songs are the soundtrack of my life! Thank you for being in my life! U24ever!
Avion Espia
It is interesting...
That part of "eternal songs"... Now I am thrilled...
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