Upcoming U2 album will feature 40 new versions of old U2 songs

U2 on the red carpet at the 45th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony at The Kennedy Center on December 04, 2022
U-2 attend the 45th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony at The Kennedy Center on December 04, 2022 (Image credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images )

Irish rock legends U2 have revealed that their upcoming album Songs Of Surrender will feature 40 reworked versions of songs from their back catalogue.

The news was revealed in a letter reportedly posted by the band's guitarist, The Edge, which was received by a number of high-profile U2 followers. Italian fan Daniel Mettei, who runs the U2360GRADI website, was amongst the first to share the note, posting it on his Twitter feed beneath the message, "I just received this letter in my mailbox."

The letter featured the hashtag #U2SOS40, a reference to the album title Songs of Surrender and the 40 old songs that have been rerecorded.  

The Edge's letter reads: “When a song becomes well known its always associated with a particular voice. I can’t think of Tangled Up in Blue without the reedy timbre of Bob Dylan or All The Time In The World without the unique voice of Louis Armstrong.

"So what happens when a voice develops and experience and maturity give it additional resonance? U2 have been around long enough to know what that is like. It’s true for us all, but it’s particularly true for Bono.

"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. The essence of those songs is still in us, but how to reconnect with that essence when we have moved on, and grown so much?

"Music allows you to time travel and so we started to imagine what it would be like to bring these songs back with us to the present day and give them the benefit or otherwise, of a 21st century re-imagining. What started as an experiment quickly became a personal obsession as so many early U2 songs yielded to a new interpretation. 

"Intimacy replaced post-punk urgency. New keys. New chords. New tempos and new lyrics arrived. It turns out that great song is kind of indestructible. Once we surrendered our reverence for the original version each song started to open up to a new authentic voice of this time, of the people we are, and particularly the singer Bono has become.

"I hope you like our new direction."

U2 have also released a trailer for the album, soundtracked by a new version of their 2000 hit Beautiful Day. Songs Of Surrender will be released March 17. 

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Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.