When U2 were writing and recording their 2014 album Songs of Innocence, controversially given away for free on Apple’s iTunes last fall, the Irish rockers had more than enough material to fill one album. “It became obvious that we were working on two separate albums,” the Edge told Rolling Stone last year.
Now, with Bono, Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton nearing the finish line of their massive Innocence + Experience Tour—it ends with four shows in their native Ireland in late-November—the group will get back to work on that record, titled Songs of Experience.
When EW caught up with Bono to talk about the making of their classic 1991 album Achtung Baby for our 25th Anniversary issue, the lead singer also shared an update on their next album’s progress. As of now, he reveals the group has around 18 tracks completed, which they will whittle down to around a dozen for the final record.
“We’re well into it,” Bono tells EW. “Edge just came up with a cracker the other day! It’s provisionally titled ‘Tightrope.'”
As far as how the new material will sound, Bono says of that track, “It’s very epic. It’s very up. And, you know, that’s probably what the experience has taught us: to be fully in the moment and that fun is respected, and joy is not to be let go of.”
U2 have yet to announce a release date for Experience, but for now, all their energy is going into their final live shows. “We’re playing out of our skins at the moment,” Bono says. “It’s pathetic it took us 35 years to be the band we’ve always wanted to be. It’s a wild thing to be in it. Our friend, Noel Gallagher, came to a show and said to us, ‘You’re starting with the encore?'”