U2 are two songs short of finishing 'Horizon'

U2: What's two songs between friends?
U2: What's two songs between friends?

What's the difference between a U2 record that's released in 2008 vs one that comes out in 2009? Two songs.

That's what Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine discovered when he paid a little studio visit to meet with the band and hear the music they'd been working on for the album that's tentatively titled No Line On The Horizon.

"I met with the guys in U2, and they say to me, 'You know what? This album needs two more songs, and it will be exactly what we have in mind.' I go there and I listen, and I agreed with them."

Fully-baked records only

Speaking to Billboard, Iovine said, "It's a great record, but it deserves the time. Labels need to work with artists to help them achieve their best work, not to jam records out that are half-baked or three-quarters baked."

"It's a great record, but it deserves the time" Jimmy Iovine, Interscope-Geffen-A&M chairman

Iovine's sage comments are in stark contrast to the throw-it-against-the-wall attitude that is prevalent amongst labels these days. But it's hardly surprising given that he's an artist-friendly executive and former producer-engineer, whose relationship with U2 dates back to 1983, when he helmed the band's live recording, Under A Blood Red Sky. In other words, he's one of the good guys.

Dimonds are forever

We at MusicRadar were wildly anticipating a new U2 album this year, but a few months ago Bono put the kibosh on a 2008 release.

"We've hit a rich songwriting vein," he said on the band's website. "It gets a bit dark down here but looks like we've found diamonds, not coal. I thought a while back we might have the album wrapped by now, but why come up above ground now if there's more priceless stuff to be found?"

And sometimes 'priceless stuff' can be boiled down to just two songs.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.