By Daniel Kreps
As Pope Francis embarks on his historic visit to the United States, His Holiness will spread his message of hope, faith and unity in the form of a prog-rock-infused album titled Wake Up! this November. The 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!,” which Rolling Stone is proud to premiere.
“Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” finds Pope Francis addressing a South Korean audience in English last year amid 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.
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. 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.”
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.”
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.
It’s Pope Francis’ belief that every person should be treated with love and respect, a message that has made him universally loved after critics chastised the Catholic Church for alienating its base and the world outside the Vatican with hardened views.
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. “At the same time, I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope.”
Wake Up! Track List
- “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”