This Is Actually Happening: Pope Francis Is Releasing a Rock Album

This Is Actually Happening: Pope Francis Is Releasing a Rock Album
In what is a truly unexpected announcement, Pope Francis — as in the actual Catholic Church-leading Pope — is releasing a rock album. Yes, a rock album.

This Vatican-approved record is called Wake Up!, and it's due out on November 27 through Believe Digital.

The album includes traditional hymns and speeches in multiple languages, which were recorded between 2013 and 2015. Don Giulio Neroni served as producer and artistic director, and prog musician Tony Pagliuca (formerly of successful Italian act Le Orme) composed some of the songs. They set the Pope's messages about peace, charity and the environment to music of an apparently very prog-like nature.

Neroni told Rolling Stone, "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."

For a taste of this, scroll past the tracklist below to hear the English-language track "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" at the bottom of this page. It begins as a two-minute prog instrumental before giving way to a speech from the Pope and culminates in a triumphantly sung, cinematic rock finale. Although this isn't the first time that a Pope has been captured on an album, the rock influences are nonetheless surprising.

The record can be pre-ordered now on iTunes.

Meanwhile, the Pope is currently in the midst of a U.S. visit, and he'll be holding mass this evening (September 25) at New York's Madison Square Garden. It remains to be seen whether he will bust out any of his rock hits for the arena audience.

Wake Up!:

1. Annuntio Vobis Gadium Mangum
2. Salve Regina
3. Laudato Sie…
4. Poe Que' Sufren Los Ninos
5. Non Lasciatevi Rubare La Speranza!
6. La Iglesia No Puede Ser Una Ong!
7. Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!
8. La Fa Es Entera, No Se Licua!
9. Pace! Fratelli!
10. Per La Famiglia
11. Fazei O Que Ele Vos Disser