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Wake Up!

Progressive pontiff preaches peace on a surprisingly proggy album

Pope Francis

ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 08: Pope Francis prays in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conceptionon at Spanish Steps December 8, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Following a tradition laid out by his predecessors, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by travelling to Spanish Steps where he venerated the statue named for the Marian Feast. The statue of the Immaculate Conception was consecrated on December 8, 1857 several years after the dogma which states that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin was adopted by the Church. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Franco Origlia/Getty

Pope Francis’ message of peace and economic justice has been an inspiration to millions of people all over the world. How’s his music? Um … infallible! Wake Up! sets his speeches and prayers (in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English) to pop, rock and classical compositions performed by Italian session musicians, several with roots in the country’s Seventies rock scene. You can hear that influence in the tubular synth noodling that opens “Annuntio Vobis Gaudium Magnum!” Other songs nod to Francis’ South American background. The only song in English, “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” is the most rocking, riding heraldic metal riffs and a fire-tongued solo into a sermon on activism. Usually, the music – some of which is quite lovely – veers closer to the New Age neoclassicism of Vangelis or Kitaro, a warm fit for Francis’ tender, elegant speaking voice. But if the sonics bathe us in soft Sunday-morning light, the message is pure punk-rock redemption. Speaking to an amped-up Brazilian crowd on “La Iglesia No Puede Ser Una ONG!” he entreats, “I want the noise to go out, I want the church to go out onto the streets.” Keep bringin’ the noise, Your Holiness.

In This Article: Pope Francis

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