The Pope is currently on his first visit to the United States, but he's already diving into yet another first — Rolling Stone broke the news that Pope Francis is releasing his own "Vatican-approved" rock album, titled Wake Up!, on Nov. 27. In this "prog-rock-infused" album, Francis will "spread his message of hope, faith and unity" through 11 tracks. Each track will feature hymns and particularly moving speeches that Francis has delivered — in multiple languages, including Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese — paired with musical accompaniments ranging in genre from pop-rock to Gregorian chant.
The LP, which is a collaboration with Believe Digital, is already available for pre-order on iTunes — and if you preorder it, you can get an instant download of one of the tracks. Rolling Stone premiered this track, titled "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" on its website. This track includes a speech delivered in English by Pope Francis last year to a South Korean audience, in which he urged the audience to be vigilant and responsible, and to not let temptation guide them away from "the beauty of holiness." "No one who sleeps can sing, dance and rejoice," Francis is heard saying on the track. The track is strangely reminiscent of Beyoncé's sampling of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's call to feminism in the song "Flawless."
The producer and artistic director of Wake Up!, Don Giulio Neroni, told Rolling Stone that he previously worked with John Paul II and Benedict XVI as well.
As in the past, for this album too, I tried to be strongly faithful to the pastoral and personality of Pope Francis: the Pope of dialogue, open doors, hospitality. For this reason, the voice of Pope Francis in Wake Up! dialogues music. And contemporary music (rock, pop, Latin etc.) dialogues with the Christian tradition of sacred hymns.
It was Neroni who reached out to prog-rock musician Tony Pagliuca — who composed multiple tracks on the album — and asked him whether he would like to collaborate on Wake Up! Pagliuca, who founded the prog-rock band Le Orme — one of the major groups of the Italian prog-rock scene in the 70s — told Rolling Stone that he "accepted with enthusiasm."
Putting my music in the service of the words and the voice of Pope Francis has been a fantastic experience and a very interesting artistic challenge.
Here's the track list for Wake Up!, which Rolling Stone reports will feature topics such as peace, dignity, environmental concerns, and helping those most in need.
1. "Annuntio Vobis Gadium Mangum" 2. "Salve Regina" 3. "Laudato Sie…" 4. "Poe Que' Sufren Los Ninos" 5. "Non Lasciatevi Rubare La Speranza!" 6. "La Iglesia No Puede Ser Una Ong!" 7. "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" 8. "La Fa Es Entera, No Se Licua!" 9. "Pace! Fratelli!" 10. "Per La Famiglia" 11. "Fazei O Que Ele Vos Disser"