U2 have shared the second preview of their upcoming ‘Songs Of Surrender’ compilation – an album of “reimagined and re-recorded” songs from across their catalogue – putting a modern spin on their classic hit ‘With Or Without You’.
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The song was initially released in March of 1987 as the lead single from their fifth album, ‘The Joshua Tree’. It was immensely successful, topping charts in U2’s native Ireland, the US and Canada, and cracking the Top Five in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Finland, New Zealand and Spain.
While the new version of ‘With Or Without You’ retains the melancholic, balladesque atmosphere of the original, it feels much rawer, with crisper and more minimalistic production – focussed on a droning, slow-burning acoustic guitar line – framing Bono’s emotive lead vocal.
Have a listen to the ‘Songs Of Surrender’ redux of ‘With Or Without You’ below, then compare it to the original version:
Announced earlier this month, ‘Songs Of Surrender’ is primed for release on March 17 (pre-order it here). It’ll comprise 40 reimagined songs from U2’s four-decade catalogue, featuring tracks from all but two of their 14 albums (those being 1981’s ‘October’ and 2009’s ‘No Line On The Horizon’). It also serves as a companion to Bono’s recent memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, which arrived last November.
The album was announced to fans in a series of handwritten letters sent out by The Edge, in which he explained that “most of U2’s work “was written and recorded when we were a bunch of very young men” and that the songs had changed over the years to “mean something quite different to us now”.
“Some have grown with us,” he wrote. “Some we have outgrown, but we have not lost sight of what propelled us to write those songs in the first place. The essence of those songs is still in us. But how to reconnect with that essence when we have moved on and grown so much?”
The guitarist went on to discuss how the band considered bringing their old songs into the present day by giving them “a 21st-century reimagining”. This supposedly shaped their direction, he said, noting that “once we surrendered our reverence for the original version, each song started to open up to a new authentic voice of this time, of the people we are now, and particularly the singer that Bono has become”.
Within days of announcing ‘Songs Of Surrender’, U2 shared the first preview, a reimagined version of ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’.