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U2 Gives Away Surprise New Album

'Songs of Innocence' available for download on iTunes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2014 12:07 PM CDT

(Newser) – Bigger iPhones and a high-tech watch were ostensibly the stars of yesterday's much-hyped Apple event, but a few other luminaries showed up to grace the stage in Cupertino, Calif. U2 made a surprise appearance and unexpectedly announced that a) it has a new album out, and b) all 500 million iTunes users can download Songs of Innocence for free, the AP reports. The band made the announcement about the 11-song album along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, noting that non-iTunes users will have to wait until Oct. 14.

According to Forbes, Bono and gang first played a new song called "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)." Then Cook started bantering with the group's frontman, exclaiming, "Wasn't that the most incredible single you ever heard? We would love a whole album of that." Bono replied, "I do believe you have over half a billion subscribers to iTunes, so—could you get this to them?" Cook's response: "If we gave it away for free." Some say U2 allowed itself to get upstaged by the Apple extravaganza—Vulture notes that the combo gadget/album release was "not so cool." The band's 13th studio album (and the first in five years) is getting mixed reviews: Jon Pareles of the New York Times calls the album a "blast of unapologetic arena rock and cathedral-scale production," while Brian Mansfield writes for USA Today that it "may not provide that miracle moment for many." (Read more U2 stories.)

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