They're now in an unprecedented fourth decade, but they're not ready to stop.
U2 smashed all touring records between 2009 and 2011 on their 360 tour, despite supporting one of the band's least-popular albums to date. We finally heard a bit from U2 late 2013 and early 2014, when they released "Ordinary Love," which won a Golden Globe award, and "Invisible," which was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for the (RED) Campaign.
The Super Bowl commercial and subsequent appearance on Jimmy Fallon's first-ever episode of the Tonight Show was supposed to be the start of a launch of a promotional campaign in support of U2's 13th album. Bono and company halted those plans, though, and decided to hold off on announcing the album and subsequent tour in March.
Instead, U2 went to work with Paul Epworth, who did his own mix of "Ordinary Love," and Ryan Tedder -- although Tedder only worked with U2 briefly.
Now in July, it appears that the U2 promotional machine is getting revved up. Prior to How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb and No Line on the Horizon's release in 2004 and 2009, Bono did something as a treat to fans lucky enough to be in the South of France -- he blasted new songs from his beach house, audible to those on the beach or surrounding areas. Both in 2004 and 2009, fans recorded the "beach clips," as they're known in U2-nerd lore. "Vertigo," "Miracle Drug," "Love and Peace or Else," and "All Because of You" surfaced in some muffled form prior to the album's release -- though the "All Because of You" clips weren't from the beach.
In 2008, "Get on Your Boots," "Magnificent," "Unknown Caller," and a mellow version of "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" were recorded on the Eze beach front. Had No Line been released in 2008 instead of 2009, U2 would almost certainly have opted to use that version of "Crazy Tonight" on the album.
2006 saw a slew of beach clips as well. What eventually turned into a Spider-Man song, "Boy Falls From the Sky," was recorded again on the beaches of France, as well as "Window in the Skies," and a still-unreleased song.
What does any of this have to do with U2 releasing an album in 2014?
Well, it happened again. Fans overheard a new U2 song blaring from Bono's house in Eze, and fans once again recorded the audio. While you can't make out too much, you can clearly hear Bono -- and perhaps a female singer. It sounds like the lyric "someone's song" is barely audible -- which could make sense. Bono mentioned in a radio interview that "Song For Someone" was a title of one of U2's new songs.
Clip retrieved 7/8/14 from https://soundcloud.com
Again, you can't hear much, but you can hear Bono, perhaps a female singer or the Edge, and a brief guitar solo. Don't bother trying to guess if it's mostly a Danger Mouse or Epworth-produced track -- there's no way of knowing. Unless either of them have decided to add soothing beach sounds to their production repertoire, which I highly doubt.
If this indeed the new U2 single, it's a slight departure from the last two albums. "Vertigo" and "Get on Your Boots" were the last two lead singles for U2, and both were fast-paced, rock songs. This song, at the least, appears to be a bit slower.
It might not be U2's next single, and it's only news-worthy because of recent history. Whenever beach clips have surfaced, a new U2 release hasn't been far behind.
It's been over five years since U2 released No Line on the Horizon, but it appears that the wait will be over for U2 fans -- as early as this fall.