"Those songs mean something quite different to us now": U2's new album Songs of Surrender will re-imagine 40 old songs

U2 have officially announced their next album project, Songs of Surrender, confirming that it will consist of 40 all-new versions of key tracks from throughout their extensive back catalogue. 

“The fact is that most of our work was written and recorded when we were a bunch of very young men

Triggered by Bono's recent memoir, Stories of Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, which was structured around -  yes - 40 key U2 tracks, the album will see the light of day on 17 March. You can watch a trailer for the project above.

In his book, Bono said the project had given him, “a chance to live inside those songs again as I wrote this memoir. 

"It also meant I could deal with something that’s been nagging me for some time. The lyrics on a few songs that I’ve always felt were never quite written. They are now. (I think.)” 

Ahead of the official announcement, the band had shared an open letter with fans. Shared on a fan forum the letter in part reads, “The fact is that most of our work was written and recorded when we were a bunch of very young men. 

"Those songs mean something quite different to us now. Some have grown with us. Some we have outgrown, but we have not lost sight of what propelled us to write those songs in the first place.” 

“Intimacy replaced post-punk urgency. New keys, new chords, new tempos and new lyrics arrived… 

"Once we surrendered our reverence for the original version, each song started to open up to a new anthemic voice of this time, of the people we are now, and particularly the singer that Bono has become.”  

U2 Songs of Surrender

(Image credit: U2)

The confirmed release for Surrender further pushes back any potential release for Songs of Ascent, an album of all-new material Bono told The New York Times [paywall] the band had nearly completed in October last year, and another project, “a noisy, uncompromising, unreasonable guitar album,” which itself was slated to appear ahead of Ascent.

“We have almost finished this album called Songs of Ascent, which we’re not putting out. We’re going to put out a rock ’n’ roll album. So we’re not putting this out, but I’m telling you it’s awesome,” Bono said at the time.

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.