New U2 album was inspired by 1970s Dublin

U2 singer Bono has revealed that the band’s new album ‘Songs of Innocence’ was inspired by his youth in Dublin in the 1970s.

Far from being a rose-tinted look at the city in that era, U2’s new songs tell stories of the violence that often took place. The album refers to both attacks on themselves and their friends and also domestic violence behind closed doors.


Bono told the Irish Times: “I’m not really talking about the Black Catholics here so much as how we just attracted violence for the way we looked and bands we liked.

“Then I went a bit further and remembered all the violence meted out to women by their husbands, the beatings children experienced from their fathers and how, at that time particularly, priests were sexually abusing young children.”

Bono also revealed that he never thought he would make it in a band as he believed his voice was too girly.

The opening track of the new album. ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’ is about how the 1970s punk star helped Bono realise that he might be able to make it after all.

Bono said: “I found my voice through Joey Ramone, hearing his singing at a gig in Dublin. Joey has a sort of girl’s voice as well when he sang – and that was my way in.”

The early insecurities are still present today and are partly the reason for the album taking so long to complete. The singer said: “The honest truth here is that I wish we were a better band. I wish we were a more talented band. The reason why this new album didn’t happen for us for so many years is because of this.

“It’s also the excruciating humility I have to go through these days. The fact that I think we are incapable of greatness.

“And Jimmy Iovine, a former U2 album producer, said something hard to me. He said, ‘You’re a long way from where you live.’ And that hurt. I live in Dalkey but I’m from Cedarwood Road, and I know what he was saying about me when he used that line. It was really embarrassing for me to hear that. And that is precisely why this album is Dublin-centric.”

While ‘Songs of Innocence’ was the band’s first album in half a decade, Bono has said that a new album should be coming very soon.

It will be a ‘sister album’ to songs of Innocence’ called ‘Songs of Experience’ which Bono says will be ready ‘soon enough’.

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Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.

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