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This is a good question, and, based on their past, this is what (IMHO, of course) is most likely the case.

The title "Songs of Ascent" has been kicking around U2 World since the recording sessions for NLOTH. They always have grand plans for things, but, to their credit, they change their minds whenever they want. Creativity can't be hard and fixed.

If you read "U2 - At The End Of The World" by Bill Flanagan (one of the very best rock biographies I have ever read), you will learn that songs (even if they were just titles and not fleshed-out songs) that existed originally during the AB sessions may not have been finished for AB; in fact, many eventually found their rightful places on Zooropa and even as late as POP (e.g., "Wake Up Dead Man").

With this in mind, I have every confidence that "Songs of Ascent" was meant to be some future project at the time. (The title "Songs of Innocence" (and possibly "Songs of Experience" as well) existed as far back as then.) However, seeing how they eventually get around to finishing songs from one album's recording sessions for inclusion on later albums, I have difficulty seeing how songs for an originally-planned SOA wouldn't have ended up on either SOI or SOE (or possibly NLOTH itself, if a particular idea caught fire in the studio at the time).

Now, does all this mean that there definitely won't be one? No, of course not - SOA may someday exist, and I'll buy it if it does. :) I also wonder, if there are any songs left over from a planned SOA, if they could end up as a fanclub CD like the "Medium Rare and Remastered" set released during the Vertigo tour years. That would be quite nice.

In any case, my intuition right now is that we won't get an SOA the same way we have gotten NLOTH, SOI, and SOE. But, if we do, that's great! :)

 

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From the way the current shows are ending-the imagery of 13-doesn't it seem like SOE is wrapping up from SOI?  Is is just me?  If there was a Songs of Ascent-it seems it would need to go a new directi

I think for various practical reasons it won't become a trilogy. I think a third in terms of theme and touring might be a stretch to far. That said several artists have started releasing albums o

Not me...as I think when we hear Songs of Ascent that will surely indicate that the end is coming.

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On 12/6/2017 at 12:37 PM, jreed said:

Loved Songs of Experience.  Such an amazing album!  Easily their best album since All That You Can't Leave Behind (or Atomic Bomb depending on your preference).  The end of Experience has a real finality to it.  Which leads me to this question:  Will we get Songs of Ascent?  Has everyone noticed how quiet Bono is about it?  He's not talking about anything but Experience, now I understand that's the new album and that's what he is hyping at the moment.  Could the rest of the band be telling him to ease up on the trilogy's end?  Could Experience be that end?  Is Bono's health a reason they may not deliver Ascent as soon as we'd hope?  There's a lot to consider.  So my question to the awesome U2niverse: Will we get Songs of Ascent?  And why do you think the way that you think?  Thanks guys!  I hope you're all well!

After a long time on the road and a health scare, I regret to have to say or even think that we may not hear from them for a while. You could also look at the flip side of that, and if there is a problem with Bono, maybe they want to get as much done as possible as soon as possible as none of us are promised tomorrow. With that said, I think they will take a much needed break and maybe be back in a few years with SOA. I remember Bono saying in an interview that Ali told him to enjoy this one. My fingers are crossed though, that they return to the states for SOE as I missed them in LA

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On 12/6/2017 at 12:37 PM, jreed said:

Loved Songs of Experience.  Such an amazing album!  Easily their best album since All That You Can't Leave Behind (or Atomic Bomb depending on your preference).  The end of Experience has a real finality to it.  Which leads me to this question:  Will we get Songs of Ascent?  Has everyone noticed how quiet Bono is about it?  He's not talking about anything but Experience, now I understand that's the new album and that's what he is hyping at the moment.  Could the rest of the band be telling him to ease up on the trilogy's end?  Could Experience be that end?  Is Bono's health a reason they may not deliver Ascent as soon as we'd hope?  There's a lot to consider.  So my question to the awesome U2niverse: Will we get Songs of Ascent?  And why do you think the way that you think?  Thanks guys!  I hope you're all well!

WE will get SOA. It just may be a while since they have been touring for awhile. I was sort of hoping that they will come back to the states and california for SOE as I missed them, but do not think that will happen. They all need a break to be with family and Bono needs to address his health, not to mention he needs to stop drinking. Give it till 2020

 

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From what I've read, Bono had a health scare.  I don't know what it was.  I have not looked to see what it was, as it's personal.  No shade intended on anyone who wants to know as that is also understandable.  I can only be honest and say I don't like people speculating on anyone's health when nobody knows the facts.  If he wants us to know they will tell us as he deems fit. I can see how others may need to conjecture.  I also think SOA is speculation, but much more positive than what I just mentioned.  From my understanding of SOI and SOE-time would have to pass before they could do an SOA as much of SOE is about what is currently going down in America.  Things would have to resolve or end before SOA would make any cohesive sense to me, if an SOA even exists. I'm hoping for something like Zooropa to organically happen as a result of the tours/albums.  SOA seems stretching it to me.  Who knows?  Time will tell.  

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SOA seems streching it, for me too Manohlive. Edge recently said that they will they take a break after this tour.  U2 will NOT play live in other parts of the world in 2019. That is just a fan's dream. New record in 2019, forget about it...

Thinking about the future of u2, what was really unnerving to me, was seeing Bono walk on stage during this recent tour. I hadnt noticed it during the Joshua Tree tour. Has something happened since then? He really moves very carefully and restrained. I usually never read about private things of the individual band members, but for the first time I am worried about Bono's health. He really seems to lack energy during this tour. Never had that feeling about Bono before. But for the first time I really do feel Bono could be at the end of the road. He still has got the spirit. But the fysical power is definitely lacking on stage.

I really would be pleased however if U2 would decide to scale down their music to more delicate acoustic performances. Songs dont have to be LOUD and BIG to be convincinng. Power of the soul is found in the beauty of the songs. And songs played acoustically can be SO POWERFUL, as they have demonstrated recently with several songs.

Bono will sparkle till the end of the world. Bono will never throw in the towel, but he will have to adapt to his fysical limitations that came along with his biking accident and the permanent injuries he has to endure...

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I'd love for SOA to be true but it does feel like the band wants and needs a break after three tours in three years - I guess it depends on how inspired they've been on the road and if song ideas have been coming to form a new album or not. Even then, they do sound like they want to rest for a moment.

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7 hours ago, peterferris8 said:

I'm pretty sure that Innocence & Experience are meant to be a duology, not two thirds of a trilogy.

Except that a few years ago, Bono had talked about it being a trilogy. This was from a 2014 Rolling Stone article.  Not that I am holding Bono to something he blabbed to Rolling Stone 4 years ago, LOL!  ("Shootin' off my mouth, that's another great thing about me")

Bono is already promising a follow-up album to Songs of Innocence, called Songs of Experience, that he'd like to have out as soon as 18 months from now. "We're hoping Songs of Experience will be less about intimacy," says bassist Adam Clayton, "and more about a celebration of sorts." The band's tentative plans are to take the indoor Songs of Innocence tour outside once the second album comes out. And there's another twist: In 2009, Bono promised that U2 would quickly follow up No Line on the Horizon with a more meditative companion album, Songs of Ascent. There has been no sign of it since, but Bono now sees it as the third part of the trilogy. "Songs of Ascent will come," he promises. "And there are some beautiful songs."

That said, I am in no rush and respect whatever time they want to take to rest and let the creative juices simmer! But I just love imagining what a U2 album named Songs of Ascent would sound like.  

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On 6/7/2018 at 9:12 PM, JCF said:

Except that a few years ago, Bono had talked about it being a trilogy. This was from a 2014 Rolling Stone article.  Not that I am holding Bono to something he blabbed to Rolling Stone 4 years ago, LOL!  ("Shootin' off my mouth, that's another great thing about me")

Bono is already promising a follow-up album to Songs of Innocence, called Songs of Experience, that he'd like to have out as soon as 18 months from now. "We're hoping Songs of Experience will be less about intimacy," says bassist Adam Clayton, "and more about a celebration of sorts." The band's tentative plans are to take the indoor Songs of Innocence tour outside once the second album comes out. And there's another twist: In 2009, Bono promised that U2 would quickly follow up No Line on the Horizon with a more meditative companion album, Songs of Ascent. There has been no sign of it since, but Bono now sees it as the third part of the trilogy. "Songs of Ascent will come," he promises. "And there are some beautiful songs."

That said, I am in no rush and respect whatever time they want to take to rest and let the creative juices simmer! But I just love imagining what a U2 album named Songs of Ascent would sound like.  

 

Thank you for posting this, JCF! THAT was the interview that I remembered reading years ago - in fact, I even remember reading the original 2009 interview.

What I love about Bono (and you appropriately quoted his own lyric from YTBTAM) is that he is the member of the band who, quoting another lyric, "dreams out loud" the most. He is and always has been the big-idea/broad-brushstroke member of U2. Of course, every band needs one or more people in this role. Bono revels in this arena.

Of course, The Edge also is in this realm - he takes the ideas from the abstract to the more concrete using his guitars, keyboards, and effects. But, like Bono, I think The Edge has more ideas than those that end up as finished products. That's why when projects like this are discussed in the press I always pay attention to Adam and Larry the most.

Of course, waiting for the rhythm section to comment publicly about...well...most things in the U2 universe can doom someone to potentially quite a long wait. Adam in recent years has become a bit more cooperative in giving his thoughts in interviews; Larry, however, is still Larry - he only talks openly if he feels he really has to and if he is certain about what he is discussing. (That's why he's my favorite source for information on the band - if he says it, it's happening.)

In the excerpt that you quoted above, look at Adam's comment about SOE - now, I love SOE, but I'm not sure I would call it "a celebration of sorts". It is somewhat less intimate than SOI, but while in 2014 SOE probably was intended to be celebratory, something happened in the intervening years (one of those things Bono and/or The Edge publicly stated was the aftermath of the 2016 election). SOE is many things and is truly excellent - IMHO, however, it isn't celebratory (for what it's worth, I would call it hopeful, meditative, wise). The point I'm trying to make is that U2 is always flexible enough to change on the fly, and I think that is what happened here for both SOE and a putative SOA.

Re-reading this did impress on me in how much Bono loves the title "Songs Of Ascent". So, we may all someday eventually own a U2 album entitled called "Songs Of Ascent" - however, I don't think a potential future SOA would have very much in common with the SOA as conceived in 2009 or 2014. If it reaches fruition, it will have gone through the same evolution that SOE did (and very many U2 albums have over their entire career).

Let me also add please don't take my lengthy reply as a contradiction - you offered the RS story in exactly the right style, i.e., "Hey, this is what Bono said about a possible SOA 4 years ago. Please take it with a grain of salt." I guess my lengthy response is really directed towards those who think that SOA is some kind of finished (or nearly finished) product that the band is holding back for whatever reason. I just don't think there is any indication that belief has any basis in reality.

But, like you, I'd love to hear what an album called "Songs Of Ascent" would sound like - what I would like most of all is for the world to be the world that the band would want to release an album called "Songs Of Ascent" into (keeping in mind that the band intended to release SOE a year earlier, and that version of SOE probably was more celebratory as Adam hoped for in the interview). Let's hope the future turns out just like that.

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From the way the current shows are ending-the imagery of 13-doesn't it seem like SOE is wrapping up from SOI?  Is is just me?  If there was a Songs of Ascent-it seems it would need to go a new direction.

1 hour ago, dmway said:

what I would like most of all is for the world to be the world that the band would want to release an album called "Songs Of Ascent" into (keeping in ming that the band intended to release SOE a year earlier, and that version of SOE probably was more celebratory as Adam hoped for in the interview). Let's hope the future turns out just like that.

That would be a wonderful new direction.

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