Pope Francis has lent his words to a rock ’n’ roll album that aims to energize youths around the world to make good on the pontiff's message of helping the poor and saving the environment.
Record label Believe Digital announced on Friday that it will release the album, “Wake Up!” on Nov. 27. The recording will pair excerpts from Francis’ speeches in various languages — including English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese — with edgy music.
The first single, "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" premiered Friday on Rolling Stone's website. The track is available for a free listen on SoundCloud.
The Argentine-born pontiff is currently touring the United States, where he has extolled the virtues of economic and social justice before Congress and the United Nations. The lyrics on his forthcoming album will reflect a similar message.
The album's 11 tracks range from pop to rock to Latin rhythms. Some of the album's proceeds will be donated to "a support fund for refugees," according to a news release.
Album producer Don Giulio Neroni, who has worked on previous papal musical releases, said he wanted to infuse Francis’ personal spirit into the songs.
“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,” Neroni told the magazine.
The more conservative Pope John Paul II, who led the church from 1978 until his death in 2005, contributed his words to a 1999 album, “Abba Pater,” which Neroni helped produce. Its tracks include choral and string music, in contrast to Francis’ rock tunes.
The album is available for preorder on iTunes. The previewed track features excerpts from a sermon Francis delivered in English to a South Korean audience in 2014.
“No one who sleeps can sing, dance or rejoice. Go! Go ahead! Dear young people. God, our God, has blessed us. From him we have received mercy,” Francis says over a guitar and piano riff, with a fast tapping-out on cymbals.
“Go out to the world, so by mercy shown to you, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors, your countrymen everyone ... may know the mercy of God. It is by his mercy that we are saved. Patient youth. Wake up!”
After these words, a vocalist begins singing in Latin about eternal life and resurrection.
Rolling Stone described the music as featuring “skyscraping electric guitars reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor,” an instrumental group that makes use of soaring horns.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press