Early in the year, we saw reports that U2 were teaming up with producer Danger Mouse for a full album, one that was expected in April. They teamed up for the 2013 soundtrack song “Ordinary Love” and the free-giveaway single “Invisible.” And then the album never came out. When U2 did pull off their surprise release of Songs Of Innocence a few months later, Danger Mouse was in the credits a lot, but he was far from the sole producer, and those two previously released songs weren’t on the album. And based on what the band and their collaborators told Rolling Stone in a new profile, the band may have scrapped an entire Danger Mouse-produced album, one that sure seems like it was far along the way to completion.
After working with Danger Mouse for a while, the Edge tells Rolling Stone, “We realized, ‘OK, we’ve actually not delivered what you might call the hallmarks of our work — the big music.” That’s when they contacted OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, among others.
Tedder says, “I have the utmost respect for Danger Mouse. Bono was very straightforward. He was like, ‘This is how we work. You’re going to do whatever you do and get it as good as you can and then more than likely your stuff is going to get messed with by somebody else.’ So I hesitated for like five seconds and then Edge was like, ‘Man, tear it apart. Do what you want.'”
As for Danger Mouse’s take on all this, he says, “They’re not my tracks. They’re U2’s tracks. I’m not happy about a song if they’re not happy.”
In the same piece, Bono once again mentions how embarrassed the band is about the album’s automatic-download surprise release: “It’s like we put a bottle of milk in people’s fridge that they weren’t asking for. It is a gross invasion! But it was kind of an accident. The milk was supposed to be in the cloud. It was supposed to be on the front doorstep.”