Year in Music 2017

Pope Francis Is Releasing a Rock Album -- This Is Not a Joke

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Pope Francis prepares to lead evening Vespers at Saint Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City.

Disclaimer: This is not an attempt at Onion-esque humor. This is real.

Pope Francis is releasing an album of prog-rock-ish music called Wake Up! on Nov. 27 in collaboration with producer and "artistic director" Don Giulio Neroni. Yes, for real. 

Shortly after the Catholic Church honcho called for serious attention to the environment and an end to capitalistic exploitation at the United Nations in New York City, Rolling Stone revealed His Holiness is also a budding artist with some seriously eclectic tastes.

Francis' foray into music is a Vatican-approved album of him speaking and chanting over music composed by other artists -- the Pope doesn't play on the record, just lends his vocals. The 11-track album will feature the Pope speaking in Italian, Spanish, English and Portuguese.

So... what the hell in heaven's name will this sound like? Luckily, RS premiered a track from Pope Francis along with the news.

With the incredible title "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!", this song features a slow build, inspirational horns and fairly scorching guitar accompaniment -- it's a dead ringer for a lost '70s prog-rock tune. The Pope's words are taken from a speech he gave in South Korea last year. 

The prog tone of this song isn't a coincidence -- the Pope tapped a veteran from the prog scene for this track. Tony Pagliuca, who composed "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!" and several of the tracks on the Pope's debut LP, told Rolling Stone, "In the '70s, I founded the prog-rock band Le Orme and topped the charts, toured Italy and U.K. and had the chance to collaborate with international artists like Peter Hammil and David Jackson. During the years, I also made an important journey of faith. When Don Giulio Neroni asked me to collaborate on this CD, I immediately accepted with enthusiasm. Putting my music in the service of the words and the voice of Pope Francis has been a fantastic experience and a very interesting artistic challenge." 

We recently created a Latin music playlist for the Buenos Aires-born pontiff -- it seems a playlist of Yes and King Crimson may have been more appropriate.

Incidentally, this confirms Pope Francis is the coolest pope in history -- not that he's got much competition, but still.