This is about as official a statement as we're likely to get on U2's album plans. In a pre-recorded interview that aired this morning on Ireland's Newstalk FM, Bono told host Pat Kenny that the band has no "commitment to any release schedule" and said he'd "like to think that next year there'll be a U2 release."
The interview was recorded over the weekend (Friday or Saturday, in all likelihood) while Bono was still in Ghana. (The band was in Copenhagen on Sunday.) It aired this morning on the first day of Kenny's new show. The focus of the conversation was the death of Irish poet Seamus Heaney and Bono's recent trip to Africa, but it ended with this exchange about U2's plans:
Kenny: The band, what are you up to at the moment? Back in studio, or finished or ... what?
Bono: The band? Uhm, we're nearly there, I think -- though this can change. There's no sense from the band of any commitment to any release schedule, any ... to anything. They just want to be really -- make some great music.
But I think we're nearly there, and once we're there we'll know it. I'd like to think that next year, there'll be a U2 release.
I mean, it sounds like we've been flaffing around, but actually what we've -- what's just happened is that we just got lost in the music and went right back to why we wanted to be in a band in the first place -- listen to the music of the mid-70s, punk rock, electronica -- we're really sort of beginning again.
I know we do this periodically, but you have to. And so ... it's very different, very fresh sound, and some beautiful songs ... big hooks ... and yeah, you'll be sick of us. I hope!
You can hear it for yourself on the Newstalk website. This part of the conversation begins at the 20:20 mark.
This is the third report in the past 10 days saying there won't be a U2 album in 2013. Steve Lillywhite recently said that to a fan in Dublin, and Universal Music Italy also told the same to U2place.com. (Also see our latest Achtoon Baby for an explanation of "getting lost" in the music.)
As always, we're tracking everything we know on our page about U2's next album.