[artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] have locked down a date for one of the first big releases of 2009. The veteran rockers have announced that they will drop their 12th album, No Line on the Horizon on March 2.
The CD, which was originally expected for release this year, is the follow-up to 2004's 9 million-selling How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It was produced by a trio of the band's longtime collaborators, [artist id="1065"]Brian Eno[/artist], Steve Lillywhite and Daniel Lanois.
Sessions for the set began in Fez, Morocco, in 2007 and continued into 2008 with tracks recorded in U2's Dublin studios, then in New York and wrapping up recently in London. [artist id="1161229"]Rick Rubin[/artist] had produced some material for the group at one point in the process, but apparently those sessions will not appear on the final album.
After reportedly recording more than 50 songs, the band said they felt they needed a few more before they were done with the project, according to Interscope/ Geffen/ A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine. "I met with the guys in U2, and they say to me, 'You know what? This album needs two more songs, and it will be exactly what we have in mind.' I go there and I listen, and I agreed with them," Iovine told Billboard in November. "It's a great record, but it deserves the time. Labels need to work with artists to help them achieve their best work, not to jam records out that are half-baked or three-quarters baked."
The first single has not yet been announced, but the U2 Web site reported in early November that the group were "holed up in a warehouse on the outskirts of London" shooting a video with director Alex Courtes ([artist id="610526"]White Stripes[/artist], [artist id="900"]Daft Punk[/artist]), who also lensed the clips for the songs "Vertigo" and "City of Blinding Lights" from Atomic Bomb. "Performing a brand-new song, the band worked on the shoot from late morning till late night," the post reported. "The elegantly mustachioed Courtes directing proceedings on the green stage. We are sworn to secrecy on the finer details of the shoot ... but there may have been some marching girls involved. With their boots on."
Billboard reported that the album is expected to feature the title track, as well as the songs "Moment of Surrender" and "Unknown Caller."
No Line on the Horizon will be the first album from U2 since they signed a 12-year multi-million dollar deal with mega-promoter Live Nation earlier this year, under which the company handles the band's merchandising, Web site and branding rights, but does not release their music. Live Nation was forced to take a $19 million loss earlier this week, Forbes.com reported, when the group sold back some shares in the company, which the promoter had to buy according to terms stipulated in the band's deal.
U2 plan to tour on the album in 2009.