Bono wants U2's next record to be a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album”

(Image credit: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

U2’s last record, 2017’s Songs of Experience, boasted the band’s familiarly accessible rock-lite sound, but frontman Bono says he wants their next outing to be a “noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album”.

In a new interview with The New York Times, the singer says he’s looking to experiment with a different creative approach following Songs of Experience and its predecessor, 2014’s Songs of Innocence.

“Right now I want to write the most unforgiving, obnoxious, defiant, fuck-off-to-the-pop-charts rock ‘n’ roll song that we’ve ever made,” he says. “I spoke to [guitarist] Edge about it this week. He’s going, ‘Is it that call again?’ ‘What call?’ ‘The one about we’re going to write the big fuck-off rock song?’ And I say, ‘Yeah, it’s our job!’ We can make songs famous now, but I don’t think U2 can make them hits.”

If such an album were to happen, it’s likely to be classic rock-inspired in sound. He continues: “I don’t know who is going to make our fuck-off rock ‘n’ roll album. You almost want an AC/DC, you want Mutt Lange. The approach. The discipline. The songwriting discipline. That’s what we want.”

It’s unclear at this stage if a “fuck-off rock ‘n’ roll” U2 album will actually happen, but Bono expresses that he’d like to release one before Songs of Ascent, an album that was originally slated as a followup to Songs of Experience but subsequently shelved.

But Songs of Ascent’s shelving was not for a lack of confidence in its material; Bono explains that he and The Edge’s songwriting is “at a very high level”, and that the band “felt that the material was so strong that it deserved time to make sure people heard about them as well as heard them”.


(Image credit: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

Of the proposed “unreasonable guitar album”, Bono adds: “In among that unreasonableness, it is likely that I will put the part of me, the anger that hasn’t been managed, to good use.”

In an extract from his upcoming memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono, published by The Guardian, Bono reflects upon the decision to add Songs of Innocence to the accounts of more than 500 million iTunes users upon its release.

“On September 9, 2014, we didn’t just put our bottle of milk at the door but in every fridge in every house in town,” says a regretful Bono. “In some cases we poured it on to the good people’s cornflakes. And some people like to pour their own milk. And others are lactose intolerant.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.