It could well be that U2 have already recorded most of what will be the next album and they are currently working on editing the material and mixing it. However, even if the album is nearly completed they will still probably hold the finished product back for a release date that coincides with a planned tour. I predict the next tour will commence in the summer of 2014, so that will mean an album release late 2013 or early 2014.
By that time the music would be stale and no longer feel creative. They would have too much chance to scrap it all and start again, and then be rushing to meet their popline.
Sorry I forgot to write in all bold letters.
Couldn't agree more, can't afford to hold back anymore. It's do or die this time round.
Albums often have a lengthy gestation period. From what I've read U2 have been working on new songs since the 360 tour. It took a while for COBL or IGWSHIA or WUDM to eventually be released, but they didn't seem to be worried about those songs becoming stale. Prince, for example, often had his next album in the can before he embarked on the tour promoting his latest album. Basically, U2 will only release their new album to coincide with their next tour, so it's the timing of the next tour which is the most relevant consideration in determining when U2 will release the new album.
That's an interesting theory about time between the end of one tour and the start of the next. I did some looking into that.
Gap between Lovetown and ZOOTV: Jan 10, 1990 to Feb 29, 1992. (2 years, 2 months)
ZOOTV (Zoomerang) to POPMART: December 10, 1993 to April 25, 1997 (3 years, 5 months) (A longer gap due to the Passengers project)
POPMART to (All you cant leave behind promo tour) / Elevation: March 21, 1998 to September 27, 2000 (2 years, 6 months)
Elevation to (Atomic Bomb promo tour) / Vertigo: December 2, 2001 to October 15, 2004 (2 years, 10 months)
Vertigo to (No line promo) / 360: December 9, 2006 to February 3, 2009 (2 years, 2 months)
Treating the 3 yrs 5 mths as an aberration gives an average of 2 years and 5 months in between the end of one tour and the start of the next.
360 ended on July 30, 2011. Two years and five months later is January 1st, 2014 for the start of a new tour. A November release could fit into this pattern, although January is never the time to start a tour, but March or April 2014 could be.
An analysis of the stats of the last 5 tours shows that they are taking longer to get through the schedule than they did when younger (no surprises there).
ZOOTV/ Zoomerang: 160 shows from Feb 29, 1992 to December 10, 1993 = 1 show per 4.13 days.
POPMART: 98 shows from April 25, 1997 to March 21, 1998 = 1 show every 3.37 days.
Elevation + promo: 134 shows from September 27, 2000 to December 2, 2001 = 1 show every 3.22 days
Vertigo + promo: 147 shows from October 15, 2004 to December 9, 2006 = 1 show every 5.34 shows (but there was a large delay due to Edge's daughter's illness)
360 + promo: 137 shows from February 3, 2009 to July 30, 2011 = 1 show every 6.61 days (with a few months of for Bono's back surgery).
Leaving out the POPMART stats as an aberration, a tour has an average of 145 shows. A realistic pace is no more than 1 show per 5 days for the whole tour (725 days, 5 days short of 2 years).
Potential schedule to fit in the 3 alleged tours needed to fill the Live Nation contract:
Next tour: March 2014 - Mar 2016. (Followed by a 2 1/2 year gap)
Following tour: Sep 2018 - Sep 2020.
Final tour: Mar 2022 - Mar 2024 (Finishing at 64.)
This is not very realistic in my opinion. Numbers don't lie, and the averages will only continue to blow out. Still, there may be another tour in 2014... or not.