2010 – U2’s new producer… Over the past six years, producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton has compiled one of the most impressive lists of collaborators in recent music history. From Gorillaz to the Black Keys and Beck to his bands with Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkley), the Shins’ James Mercer (Broken Bells) and members of Blur and the Clash (The Good, the Bad & the Queen), Danger has dipped his toes in a wide and impressive variety of creative pools.
But, as cool as that résumé is, for his latest trick the onetime mash-up master has landed one of the premier gigs in all of music. According to Bono, Danger has produced songs for the upcoming album from the Irish rock gods, which the frontman told The Age is slated for release early next year.
“We have about 12 songs with him,” Bono said of the tentatively titled Songs of Ascent, just one of three albums the group is working on. “At the moment, that looks like the album we will put out next, because it’s just happening so easily.” While Bono did not reveal much about how those songs came together or what they will sound like, he did say the group is also working on a “club” record that will feature tracks created with Lady Gaga collaborator RedOne, as well as will.i.am and David Guetta.
“U2’s remixes in the 1990s were a real treasure,” Bono explained. “So we wanted to make a club-sounding record. We have a pile of songs.”
While a return to the Achtung Baby era of big beats and dance-floor-worthy tunes seems like an odd detour for the act after a string of albums that brought them back to their anthemic rock roots with a few slight detours into world-music-inspired melodies, the third album in the works is perhaps the most unusual.
Bono said he would like to record some of the nearly 2 dozen songs he and guitarist The Edge have written for the “Spider-Man” Broadway musical they are scoring, but selling the other two members of the group on the project has been tough so far. “We haven’t convinced the rest of the band to do that yet,” he said. “[Drummer] Larry [Mullen Jr.] definitely has a raised eyebrow.”