We like the Pope, the Pope totes emotes. On this, his debut single, Pope Francis – or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, if you’re not into his Lana Del-Rey style moniker – delivers an emotional, rallying cry as reverb-laden guitar gives way to an epic brass section. It’s so good he receives a round of applause in the middle.
Let’s back the Pope Mobile up a minute. That’s right, the man widely regarded as the chillest Pope in history (he’s still pretty illiberal by normal person standards but in Pope terms you’re looking at James Dean sipping mai tai’s with The Big Lebowski), who graced the cover of Rolling Stone in 2014 and was reportedly once a nightclub bouncer, is now releasing a rock album with producer Don Giulio Neroni.
He approached musicians he admired to create the banging tunes, which sample clips from his speeches. The album is named ‘Wake Up’ and its first singles is called ‘Wake Up! Go! Go forward!’ Yes, that does sound like a Los Campesinos! title. Anyway, the song and some of the album was composed by Italian musician Tony Pagliuca, who was in a barnstorming ‘70s prog rock band called Le Orme. The single is suitably massive.
Its opening is a slow-burn, a tease of minimal organ keys and building guitar notes that spirals into a cacophony of noise, which then slides away as the Pope (Peezy? Pizzy?) tells the listener to “Wake up!”, sounding like those bits in Libertines songs where Pete says something like “Let me go!’ or “You stupid fucking idiot!” The following speech, which he gave in South Korea last year, is then superseded by Pagluica’s heartfelt crooning.
This, then, is a pretty forward-thinking mash-up of prog rock, soul and spoken word. The release date’s a shame: two months ago it could have been the sound of the summer. Still, picture Pagliuca, Neroni and Peezy, 12 hours deep into their studio time, surrounded by Rizlas and empty biscuit tins, like the ballers they are.