U2 delayed their upcoming album Songs of Experience because the world was changing so rapidly around them, frontman Bono has explained. The LP, expected in December after three years in production, has taken on an even more political aspect than it originally had, and a great deal of that is to do with the election of President Donald Trump.

“It’s hard to quantify, but I would say the emotional temperature is up about 25 percent,” Bono told Rolling Stone. “There’s a couple of reasons why we delayed Songs of Experience. The world around us was certainly changing out of all recognition. We nearly lost the European Union, something that has helped keep the peace in our region for nearly 70 years. You’ve had the same sort of disaffection in the United States, with the rise of a new kind of constituency. People on both the left and right have lost faith in political process. These sentiments are easily played and manipulated by the likes of Donald Trump.

“In a world where people feel bulled by their circumstance, sometimes people fall prey to a bully of their own. Lots of people around me, both conservative and liberal, feel this is one of those defining moments in their lives. After the election, some people on the left were almost grieving. When I tried to understand, I realized there was a kind of mourning for innocence that was lost. For the first time in many years, maybe in our lifetime, the moral arc of the universe, as Dr. King used to call it, was not bending in the direction of fairness, equality and justice for all.”

He went on to explain how his lyrics for “The Blackout” had begun as a “personal apocalypse” but became an illustration of what he’d come to see as “political dystopia,” adding, “‘Dinosaur wonders why it still walks the Earth / A meteor promises it’s not going to hurt’ would have been a funny line about an aging rock star. It’s less funny if we’re talking about democracy and old certainties, like truth.”

During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Bono altered the lyrics of “Bullet the Blue Sky” to make a comment about Trump, where in previous years he may not have been so unambiguous. “It is a little bit of a departure, as I’ve always believed in working across the aisle as an anti-poverty activist," he said. "But this isn’t a matter or right or left. There’s a bully in the pulpit and silence is not an option.”

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