[From the October 2004, issue]
Bono is perched on a sofa in the main room of U2's Windmill Studio complex in Dublin, sporting the pained look of one suffering acute constipation. It's the penultimate day of work on the band's 10th studio album and their singer is, as he puts it, "one great bridge from the end. It's taking a little time to get it right."
U2 are past masters at the concept of "taking a little time" in the studio. But whereas they never actually got around to finishing 1997's Pop -- recording on that was prematurely curtailed in order to start the now-notorious PopMart tour -- this time around it's only release dates that have slipped by (two, at the last count) and, troublesome bridge and the well-publicised theft of the Edge's unmastered copy of the album aside, everything else is as it should be.
The record -- working title Vertigo, though that could well change -- runs to a taut 11 tracks, and will now appear on 22 November. Picking up where 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind left off, it's unashamedly vintage U2 in both tone (widescreen, anthemic) and execution (the Edge's guitar hasn't sounded so, well, Edge-like since The Joshua Tree). And as with the last album's "Beautiful Day," it'll be launched with a blockbuster single -- namely the powerchord stomp of "Vertigo" itself.
"From the start we wanted to make our own Who's Next," concludes Bono, "where every track mattered, and I think we've done that. This one feels like a special record."
Working Title: Vertigo
Due: 22 November
Completed Tracks: Vertigo / Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / City of Burning Lights / Man & a Woman / Yaweh / Crumbs From Your Table
Producer: Steve Lillywhite
Recorded At: Windmill Studios, Dublin
Strange But True: In May, Bono took time out from recording to entertain Tony Blair at his Killiney home. Blair later declared that the U2 singer was "a top man."