'Wake Up!': Papal Pop Rock Album Hits Italian Record Stores

VATICAN CITY – Successors of St. Peter have convened ecumenical councils and synods. They have authored encyclical letters and delivered homilies. But, Pope Francis is shaking things up this holiday season.

As Reuters reports, last week the Vatican premiered the Holy Father’s first recorded LP album, entitled “Wake Up!” – a collaborative effort between Believe Digital and the Vatican. The album hit stores here in Italy last week Tuesday. But, the fifty-five minute Christian music album will be available for purchase back home in the United States on November 27, 2015 in time for the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping rush.

“Wake Up!” is an eleven track album produced by Don Giulio and Tony Pagliuca that features spoken words from Pope Francis set to music sung by a variety of Italian artists, including Giorgio Kriegsch, Mite Balduzzi, Giuseppe Dati, Lorenzo Piscopo, and Dino Doni. Using a broad range of musical styles from Gregorian chant to the more popular progressive Italian rock, the album spotlights themes of peace, hope, human dignity, fraternity, solidarity, and care for the earth, among others.

The album opens with a recording of the March 13, 2013 announcement made in St. Peter’s Square of the election of Pope Francis. Then, it continues with a recording of the Salve Regina sung in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the twenty-eighth World Youth Day and in Cagliari, Italy on September 22, 2013.

Parts of speeches the Pope delivered both at the Vatican and around the world are also incorporated into the album, including addresses made in Seoul, South Korea during the Sixth Asian Youth Day and Manila, Philippines during the Pope’s Apostolic Voyage there earlier in 2015. On the album, the Pope speaks in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Rolling Stones premiered the album’s seventh track – entitled “Wake Up!” – on September 26, 2015. That song is already available for download from Apple’s iTunes store, which is also taking pre-orders of the entire album at the price of $17.39.

Producer and artistic director, Don Giulio Neroni, says that “I tried to be strongly faithful to the pastoral personality of Pope Francis: the Pope of dialogue, open doors, hospitality.” He adds that, “For this reason, the voice of Pope Francis in Wake Up! dialogues [with] music. And contemporary music (rock, pop, Latin etc.) dialogues with the Christian tradition of sacred hymns.”

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