Matt McCrory review:
With one of the most renowned live acts in the world and over a billion followers, Pope Francis is finally dropping his anticipated debut album Wake Up!. Known for his extensive tour schedules and renowned divinity, this ex-bishop has finally caved in to demand and released an album filled with dance-floor bangers inspired by his live show. Yes – he really has.
Pope Francis is the latest in the ever-changing line-up of the Pope super group. With almost as many members as Odd Future, he’s the 266th incarnation of the Holy Spirit we all know and love. Famed for his heavenly teachings, affinity with the lord and ability to drop (Bible) verses with godly precision, The Pope is now making his foray into sick beats. While previous Popes have been criticised for their lavish lifestyles, signature clothing and cars, Pope Francis is known for his humble roots and popular weekly hometown shows from his balcony in the Vatican City.
Pope Francis Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward! (Official Lyric Video)
Back in 1966, John Lennon said that The Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus’. Finally we have the heavenly response that we’ve all been waiting for. Spanning 11 tracks and 55 minutes, Wake Up! is the first release coming straight outta Vatican. It features His Holiness performing some of his greatest hits like ‘Por Que’ Sufren Los Ninos’ and the memorably titled ‘Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!’ and gives a definitive answer to Faithless: that God is indeed a DJ.
Wake Up! takes some of Pope Francis’ most popular speeches from across the world and sets them to music. We unfortunately don’t get Francis rocking a Stratocaster or working an 808; instead we’re treated to the work of Priest Don Giulio Neroni and members of the Italian prog-rock band Le Orme providing synth and choral compositions to bookend Pope Francis’ spoken word.
I’m not really sure who the target audience of this review is. I’m not convinced that the University of Birmingham populous (or pope-ulous if you’re punningly inclined) will be sprinting down to buy copies of this album. I doubt that Pope Francis is going to be competing with Biebs on the singles chart (although I would wholeheartedly endorse a collaboration track). Nevertheless, I will labour to summarise His Holiness’ music stylings for those still on the fence as to whether pick up this record.
It’s absolutely bonkers. That’s not to say that it’s bad. It’s just bizarre. Sure, there are some uplifting cadences among the cheesy instrumentals. Yes, the album explores a surprising range of musical genres, moving from upbeat Spanish pop on ‘Cuidar el Planeta’ to heavy-guitar-laden prog-rock on the title track. Even Pope Francis’ more downbeat spoken word verses don’t seem too out-of-place in the midst of the choral and chant choirs. I just can’t figure who this album is aimed at. The surprisingly adventurous and modern sound indicates that The Church is reaching out to a younger audience.