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Pope Francis To Release Pop-Rock Album ‘WAKE UP!’

Popes have long dabbled in music: Pope Benedict XVI’s voice was featured on 2009’s Music From The Vatican: Alma Mater, and Pope John Paul II appeared on albums like 1999’s Abba Pater. Pope Francis, however, may be the first pope to rock.  [3] And with a fan base of millions, a consistently jam-packed tour schedule, and an almost permanent place in the headlines, it’s easy to see how Pope Francis got his “rock star” nickname. [4]  He recently ‘played’ to a packed house at Madison Square Garden, and caused a ticket scalper frenzy, and even had his own merch. [9] Now Pope Francis is releasing an album of prog-rock-ish music called Wake Up! in collaboration with producer and “artistic director” Don Giulio Neroni. The New Vatican-approved LP, a collaboration with Believe Digital, features the Pontiff delivering sacred hymns and excerpts of his most moving speeches in multiple languages paired with uplifting musical accompaniment ranging from pop-rock to Gregorian chant. Wake Up! arrives November 27th, with the iTunes pre-order now available with an instant download of “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” The Guardian described the album as “a kind of Italian prog rock, it is bombastic, predictable and over-orchestrated.” [13] According to the LA Times more than 10.3 million Christian and gospel music titles were sold in 2013. Although this is a small portion of the music market — 3.5% of total album sales — the genre as a whole is doing well.  [11]

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The Argentinean-born Pope Francis, the first Pope born outside of Europe, has reignited a Catholic base and inspired millions outside his own religious denomination with his selfless, unifying messages that encourage climate change protection, assistance for the homeless and his hope for equality for all, even in the case of hot-button issues like same-sex marriage and immigration. [2]

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Wake Up! Track List

1. “Annuntio Vobis Gadium Mangum”
2. “Salve Regina” (The Salve Regina, also known as the Hail Holy Queen Mary)
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”

Click here to listen to a sample track from his new album.

Anyone see the Name of Jesus Christ anywhere on this list? Nope, but I do see song #2 is a little ditty worshipping Mary. Hmm…  Speaking to Congress Thursday, Pope Francis asked the leaders of the most powerful and wealthiest nation to mend the “open wounds” of a planet ripped apart by hate, poverty, weapons and climate change. “I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship, a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost,” the Pope told Congress. [2]

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Pope Francis To Release Pop-Rock Album ‘WAKE UP!’ ad 182667723

The magazine Bilboard said about “Wake Up!” (the 7th song of the album): “this song features a slow build, inspirational horns and fairly scorching guitar accompaniment” and that’s “a dead ringer for a lost ’70s prog-rock tune.”[14] Pope Francis gave the “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward” speech in South Korea last year. The track features atmospheric synths, trumpeting horns and skyscraping electric guitars reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. “Wake up / Wake up,” Pope Francis says on the track. “The Lord speaks of a responsibility that the Lord gives you / It is a duty to be vigilant / Not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins to dull our sensibility of the beauty of holiness.” Later on the moving track, the Pope tells his audience, “No one who sleeps can sing, dance and rejoice,” as he urges them to wake up and go. [1] After which the song moves on to Jesus’s “I am the resurrection” speech, as sung in Latin by Damiano Affinito. Fans of Procol Harum or Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother will understand what the pope was going for, but will struggle to enjoy it.  [13] It’s the only English-language track on the album. [7]   On Wake Up!, Pope Francis speaks to the listener in Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese over 11 tracks to address issues like peace, dignity, environmental concerns and helping those most in need.  [1]

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Tony Pagliuca

Sadly there are no collaborations with One Direction, Justin Bieber, or Selena Gomez. Such a bummer. But don’t fret, there’s a truly positive spin on this news: a portion of the album’s proceeds will be donated to a support fund for refugees, reports Us Weekly. [24] Plus you can totally add this album to your collection of Pope Francis items, like this bobblehead that retails for $29.99 online. [23] For the album, the Pope’s powerful messages were placed in the musical hands of Wake Up!‘s producer and artistic director Don Giulio Neroni. “For many years, I’ve been the producer and the artistic director of albums by the Pope. I had the honor to work with John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis,” Neroni tells Rolling Stone. “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.” [1] Musician Tony Pagliuca, who composed several Wake Up! songs including “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!,” tells Rolling Stone, “In the Seventies, I founded the prog-rock band Le Orme and topped the charts, toured Italy and U.K. and had the chance to collaborate with international artists like Peter Hammil and David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator). During the years, I also made an important journey of faith. When Don Giulio Neroni asked me to collaborate on this CD, I immediately 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.” [1]

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Pro-abortion, pro-communist, pro-muslim, pro-carbon-tax, pro-open-borders, pro-world-governement… what’s next for Pope Francis?

In conclusion,  it will surprise many people to see the Vatican now releasing prog rock, a style that 40 years ago was being accused of smuggling Satanic messages into young people’s minds. And it will surprise many more that the pope now shares an artist credit on iTunes with Affinito, a musician who two years ago, it appears, made a dubstep track called Kill the Fuckin’ DJ! Whether it was this particular tune that made the pope want to work with him, we do not yet know. [13]

[1] Daniel Kreps, Pope Francis to Release Pop-Rock Album ‘Wake Up!’, Rolling Stone, September 25, 2015
[2] Geoffrey Grider, POPE FRANCIS TO RELEASE POP-ROCK ALBUM ‘WAKE UP!’ THIS NOVEMBER, Now the End Begins, September 26, 2015
[3] Jeremy Gordon, Pope Francis to Release Rock Album, Shares First Song “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!”, Pitchfork, September 25, 2015 at 12:07 p.m. EDTP
[4] Lauren O’Neil, Pope Francis to release a rock album, CBC, Sep 25, 2015 8:43 PM ET
[5] ALEX YOUNGON, I’m not even kidding, Pope Francis is releasing a prog-rock album called Wake Up!, Consequence of Sound, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 11:18AM
[6] Graham ‘Gruhamed’ Hartmann, Pope Francis to Release Prog Rock-Infused Album ‘Wake Up!’, Loudwire, September 25, 2015 4:04 PM
[7] Dave Lifton, Listen to Pope Francis’ Prog-Rock Song, ‘Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward’, Ultimate Classic Rock, September 25, 2015 4:01 PM
[9] JILLIAN SEDERHOLM, Pope Francis to Release Rock Album ‘Wake Up!’, NBC News, SEP 26 2015, 1:49 AM ET
[10] Pope Francis to release pop-rock album, ‘Wake Up!’, Irish Times, Tue, Sep 29, 2015, 12:24
[11] Sarah Parvini, Pope Francis is releasing a rock album called ‘Wake Up!’, Los Angeles Times, September 28 2015
[12] Andrew Buncombe, Pope Francis to release prog-rock album ‘Wake Up!’ ahead of Christmas charts, The Independent, Friday 25 September 2015 19:07 BST
[13] Leo Benedictus, Straight outta the Vatican: who will appreciate the Pope’s rock album?, The Guardian, Monday 28 September 2015 18.32 BST
[14] Joe Lynch, Francis Is Releasing a Rock Album — This Is Not a Joke, Bilboard, September 25, 2015 11:07 AM EDT
[15] Maeve McDermott, Pope Francis to release album, ‘Wake Up!’, USA Today, 1:30 p.m. EDT September 25, 2015
[16] Anu Passary, Holy Rock Star: Pope Francis Set To Release ‘Wake Up!’ Rock Album, Tech Times, September 28, 1:08 AM
[17] Olivia B. Waxman, Pope Francis Is Dropping a Pop-Rock Album, TIME, Sept. 25, 2015
[18] Wade Sheridan, Pope Francis to release Vatican-approved album ‘Wake Up!‘, UPI, Sept. 28, 2015 at 8:05 AM
[19] Which Songs on Pope Francis’s Album Will Be Hit Singles?, Vanity Fair, SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 1:33 PM
[21] ANDREW R. CHOW, Next Up From Pope Francis? An Album, of Course, New York Times, SEPT. 27, 2015
[22] ZACH SCHONFELD, Pope Francis Is Really and Truly Releasing a Rock Album Called ‘Wake Up!’, Newsweek, 9/25/15 AT 12:57 PM
[23] Lauren Cox, Pope Francis Releasing Pop-Rock Prayer Album Titled ‘Wake Up!’ — Hear First Single, Hollywood Life, Fri, September 25, 2015 3:54pm EDT
[24] SIERRA MARQUINA, Pope Francis Releasing Pop-Rock Prayer Album Titled Wake Up! — Listen to the First Single, US Magazine, SEP. 25, 2015 AT 2:13PM
[25] JOSHUA AXELROD, Pope Francis to drop ‘Wake Up!’ album in November, Washington Examiner, 9/25/15 3:05 PM
[26] JASON SILVERSTEIN, Pope Francis to release first rock album ‘Wake Up!’ in November, New York Daily News, Friday, September 25, 2015, 4:00 PM


About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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