It is my opinion that many fans are in denial about the deafening silence coming out of the U2 camp. Many of us come up with statements like "they just finished a major world tour last year" (i.e 2011) or, "they only put out an album every four years anyway", but I don't want to live in denial anymore.
I wrote some time back that U2 could no longer be together as a band since they live in four different places (Edge- California, Bono- NY, Adam- London, Larry- Ireland), and no surprises I was lambasted for that.
A simple look at "Off the Record" in the period of time before the release of No Line On the Horizon, will show that there is a lead up to the release of each album. Have we stopped to think how long this lead up period is?
Have a look at some of these posts:
1) From June 8th, 2008- "All right, on to something more positive now: I'm glad we had a bit of news about the record; it's nearly finished!"
(This was nearly 9 months before NLOTH was released.)http://www.atu2.com/news/column-off-the-record-vol-8-310.html
2) And earlier on May 4th, 2008-
"Can we assume work on the new album is done, or close to it? Bono showed up at a supercar show in Monte Carlo last weekend, and Edge was out frolicking on the beach this weekend with Brangelina. Maybe this is just a short break for everyone. Whether it's done or not, this should put to rest all the garbage in online news circles about U2 "scrapping" everything to start over. Let's hope we don't have to hear more of that...."http://www.atu2.com/news/column-off-the-record-vol-8-305.html
3) Earlier still, January 6th, 2008-
"Hopefully 2008 will be the year we get to enjoy another new U2 album. I love the whole new album experience; hearing that first single, discovering new tunes, rhythms and lyrics, seeing the first film clip, checking out the album art...bliss. We've got all that to look forward to this year. And the hype has already begun."http://www.atu2.com/news/column-off-the-record-vol-8-288.html
4) And way back on October 1st, 2007, 17 months before the release of NLOTH-
"Trying to keep tabs on Bono's whereabouts each week is harder than it looks. One minute he's in the studio with Edge, Larry and Adam working on the new album..."http://www.atu2.com/news/column-off-the-record-vol-7-275.html
All this to show that the idea of a new album was already fairly concrete 17 months before its actual release, and there were of course rumours even earlier than that. There a period of complete silence means that an album is at least 2 years away or a the very best 18 months away.
Of course we could all end our denial, and start to accept that U2 are just "soul rockin' people movin' on" (a hint from Stand Up Comedy?).