Pope Francis is a little-known progressive/pop rock band from Aus- wait? It’s the actual Pope? Oh…
The leading single from his debut album Wake Up!, the song “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” is reminiscent of many subgenres of rock music. However, it manages to lose the charm and complexity of each of those subgenres, leaving a song that feels watered down and uninspired.
The instrumental introduction seems like something that could come from the intro to an 80s progressive rock opera, but the instrumentation isn’t quite at the level one would expect from a true prog band.
The chord progression is rather standard and the most complex instrumental feat is a sequence of eighth-notes on the synthesizer.
After the intro, the song takes out the synth, giving the guitars room to breathe and making room for the introduction of a horn section.
It may remind one of post-rock outfits like Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. However, Wake Up! lacks the complex instrumentals and underlying emotion that defines the best of the genre.
After two minutes of instrumentation, Pope Francis himself finally appears in the song. Unfortunately, the Pontifex isn’t laying down any new tracks in Wake Up!, as the album is built around his existing speeches and prayers.
Francis calls for action in the sample, saying “I don’t like to see young people who are sleeping.” The Pope’s section ends, as one may expect, by telling the youth to wake up.
The final section of the song features John 11:25-26 sung in Latin. The verses are accompanied by triumphant guitar chords and drums.
The song ends at the end of the Latin section, with a final cymbal crash and synth chord slowly fading out.
While the song may feel uninspired, there’s nothing horrendous about it, either. For casual listeners, there is nothing offensive about the single. There’s also a charming novelty in hearing Pope Francis’s speeches set to a synth-rock background.
After the initial excitement from hearing that Pope Francis has dropped a single, one doesn’t find much beyond the surface in the new song.