When it comes to the complexities of the U2 machine, I find The Edge is the one to offer clarity and insight. “Through a combination of the global climate the album was going to be released into and our own personal stuff, it didn’t seem right to be getting it out in a hurry.

The West Coast, referenced in Summer Of Love for instance, is not set on the familiar, opulent American seaboard but the Mediterranean where the Syrian conflict fuels Europe’s devastating refugee crisis.

While the subject matter appears heavy, the album is filled with melodic hooks, heartfelt lyrics and commanding vocals, all given a sparkling, vibrant sheen by chief producers Ryan Tedder (Adele, Beyonce) and Jacknife Lee (The Killers, Snow Patrol).

It could be any partner, any child, any fear, any danger, any hope.

Wider issues are explored on drum and bass-heavy The Blackout, which began, as The Edge as explains, as a song about Bono’s bike accident but re-written to explore the collapse of democracy. that the USA is not just a country but an idea, one that is severely compromised.

“There’s been an attempt to look back at our position, which is rarefied in many ways, but there’s also humanity in our shared experience.

“At 57, you view the time ahead of you differently to the time behind you.” The last word is with Bono, who writes: “I wanted to dive naked into these Songs Of Experience, not just skinny dipping with the ones I love, I wanted to take my skin off.” Being constantly in the spotlight has made U2 easy targets. We want this stuff to enter the language.” It’s quite apparent that the delay and subsequent reboot of the album has given it a freshness and urgency that may otherwise have been lacking. Somehow, the band has managed to capture some of the white knuckle, less complicated live U2 sound in the studio. A recent New Scientist article "The most ancient piece of you" (4 November 2017) discussed the common ancestors of living beings today.But are plants included in this universal common ancestor?In 2014, when I met all four members on an idyllic, sun-dappled autumn afternoon in the south of France, they talked of a quick-fire companion album to that year’s Songs Of Innocence. “Brexit and the American elections threw a completely different light on everything and Bono was going through issues to do with his health that were quite profound.