ALBUM: Pope Francis ‘Wake Up!’


As I always say: never give a terrorist an automatic weapon, never give a pensioner a mobile phone, and never give a Christian an acoustic guitar. As most people do, Don Giulio Neroni has ignored my advice completely; constructing an album based on The Pope’s speeches. It’s both an adventurous and ambitious attempt to present the thoughts of The World’s Number One Jim Bowen lookalike.

Putting the spoken word to music, puts weight on the music itself. Here, the arrangements don’t really fit the words, either coming in too late or finishing too soon. Often they go on for too long, but as a severely lapsed Catholic, I could say that about most visits to church. And let’s talk about the music itself. Eclectic is probably too polite a word, let’s say “completely shambolic”.

We have one-fingered jazz noodling, military drumming, and the tasteful plucking of a middle-aged bloke with his first guitar. A chimp with access to ProTools could probably do a better job. Let’s pay particular attention/derision to ‘Salve Regina’, a Gregorian chant to The Virgin Mary. It’s death by panpipes. And then the chimes come in. ‘Laudato Sie’ is an acoustic guitar and a rhythm box, committing the kind of Mass stupidity you can find in the scuzziest shopping centre.

The speeches themselves are largely in Spanish/Italian, so what is The Artist Formerly Known As Jorge actually saying? Only ‘Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!’ is in English, which gains a comedy point for his use of the word ‘save-ed’. I have enough Spanish to understand the phrase “Por Que Surfren Los Ninos?” (Why do children suffer?). Well White Francis, it’s probably because The Catholic church lets them be born into poverty; due to refusing people the use of effective contraception.

The big question is: what is this album actually for? A Friday night dinner party (with fish, probably)? To get through a long train journey? If it’s an aid to prayer, then you would probably question why you need an accompaniment to the actual act.  So, a disappointing debut from Iggy Pope. Hopefully with better material and production; he can really find his feet with a second album. Maybe he needs to change management. We can only hope and possibly pray.

Wake Up! is released on 27th November via Believe Digital. 

Kev McCready