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U2 still on track to issue album this year

U2 is still on track to issue a new album this year, despite claims that the band has pushed the project and subsequent tour back to 2015.

In December,  band members indicated to The Times that they were targeting a new album for an April release. However, last week, Billboard reported that the album the Irish quartet was crafting alongside producer Danger Mouse wouldn’t be ready until next year.

The band also reportedly booked additional recording sessions with hitmakers Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth, though Danger Mouse remains the core producer of the project.

"It seems to be taking longer for them to finish an album as they get older, but the great thing about U2 is that the whole of a record is always better than the sum of its parts," Billboard quoted a source close to the project as saying. "That magic that the band always seems to capture ... they have yet to capture it."

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However, a rep for U2 told The Times on Monday that contrary to Billboard’s recent article, the band still plans to release an album sometime this year. A source also told The Guardian that reports of delays were unfounded.

If an album is released this year, it would come in the wake of a mini-resurgence the iconic band is enjoying. Technically, this development doesn’t qualify as a postponement because a firm release date has never been announced by the group or its label, Interscope Records.

Since January, U2 has earned a Golden Globe (its Mandela biopic tune "Ordinary Love" won for original song), fronted a Super Bowl commercial that premiered a new single, anchored the premiere of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and performed at the Academy Awards.

Ahead of this year’s Oscars -- “Ordinary Love” was up for original song, but lost to “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” -- the band’s frontman, Bono, spoke to The Times about the new album and said the group was looking to avoid the “esoteric” feel of its last effort, 2009’s “No Line of the Horizon.”

"There were a lot of subjects. Writing a song about infinity? It's great that a band like U2 can get away with that, but I remember enough of being a teenager,” Bono admitted. “The reason we joined U2 was to not go too far on the self-indulgent front. We had one foot in punk rock.

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"There's a song that I think will be on this album that's called 'This Is Where You Can Reach Me,' and we as a band went in 1977 to see the Clash and it turned our life upside down. I went home that night, and part of me never came home. The Clash were this extraordinary sight, the most extraordinary sound. It was an audio-visual assault and we were 16, 17 years old.

"There's awful progressive rock lurking around, but I have enough of a memory of 1977 to not surrender to it. There were incredibly pure thoughts in music then. You knew what the song was about. You knew the melody. You knew the hook. We're going for a bit of that on the new album."

Times staff writers Randy Lewis and Todd Martens contributed to this report.  

ALSO:

U2 talks new album

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U2 manager Paul McGuinness turning reins over to Guy Oseary

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gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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