mon 20/05/2024

CD: Pope Francis - Wake Up! | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Pope Francis - Wake Up!

CD: Pope Francis - Wake Up!

One of the stranger outings for liberation theology

Is this the sound of a hippie Pope?

“May you live in interesting times,” goes the old curse – and for better or worse there's no question that we do. Among the many, many couldn't-make-it-up elements in play in the global landscape in 2015, we appear to have something of a hippie Pope.

Alright, there's a lot to pick through in Pope Frank's statements and policies, but at the very least he appears to have just dramatically converted the USA's biggest single bloc of swing voters away from global warming denial and attempted the same with gun worship, and he certainly talks the egalitarian talk a lot louder than any of his predecessors in living memory.

And now he's made an album. Not just a standard Vatican-branded bit of tat with chorales and some speeches/prayers tacked on, but some kind of concept album, with electronic beats and such. It's hard to tell quite what it's all about in among the jumble of Latin, English, Italian and Spanish – but it's clearly intended to be stirring, even a call to arms: “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” is probably the track title of the year.

In a sense it sort of is quite stirring, in as much as it feels like a triumph of enthusiasm over rationality and organisation. Musically, it's a complete shambles, with the sonic quality of something recorded on a 20-year-old PC with an “electronic keyboard” bought from one of those shops on down-at-heel high streets which buy stuff off addicts. But among all the speeches, muzak-y Spanish guitar licks and dreamy choruses that surround the plinky-plonk drumbeats, there's something bizarrely individualist here. It's entirely impossible to parse, but maybe, possibly, somehow makes sense as a mad response to a mad world? Is it wrong to call the Pope beyond good and evil? Because this album certainly is. A bizarrely interesting record for bizarrely interesting times.

It feels like a triumph of enthusiasm over rationality and organisation


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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