U2 Can’t Help But Sound Like Themselves on Indian-Inspired New Single “Ahimsa”

It’s been two years since U2 released their 14th studio album Songs of Experience into the world, but the band is back with a new song. Titled “Ahimsa,” the track takes its name from the Sanskrit word for “non-violence” and was written in collaboration with renowned Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman.

While U2 is, of course, a politically-motivated rock band from Ireland, the song was released ahead of their upcoming tour stop in Mumbai on December 15. The band are currently in the midst of their “The Joshua Tree Tour 2019,” which brings them to countries like Singapore, South Korea, India, and the Philippines for the first time as performers.

“Doing these shows has been very special for us, a lot of emotion,” Bono said of the tour in May. “From the despair of how relevant some of the dark songs still are, to the joy, pure fun of the staging…it’s quite a ride. And now we get to do it all over. Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul…We’re coming for you.”

The single opens with vocals from Rahman’s daughters Khatija and Raheema before Bono’s arena-filling voice blankets the mix. Aside from its Sanskrit chorus where Bono repeatedly chants the song’s title, the track remains surprisingly consistent with U2’s output over the last few years, save for an unorthodox synth solo to close out the end of the track.

U2’s latest album Songs of Experience dropped in December 2017, and included three singles: “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” “Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way,” and “Get Out of Your Own Way,” memorably featuring Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar. Genre-bending songwriter Beck later released an official remix to “Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way,” and the band released a new three-track EP called The Europa EP earlier this year exclusively for Record Store Day.

Check out their new song with A.R. Rahman below.


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