He may call himself Mr. International, but people around the world aren't really feeling the official World Cup song by Pitbull.
The song, "We are One," performed with Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte may appear vibrant and colorful when you first watch it, but it fails to do the one thing official World Cup songs are supposed to do: excite us.
That's a song that took nine artists (NINE!) to write and produce, and it sounds more like a throwaway pop rather than a song that is packed with energy. The heavy bombardment of percussion and the injection of every Brazilian samba cliche you can possibly imagine disappoints the fans who are looking for anything but this.
Then there are some blatantly inauthentic lyrics, including this:
It's your world, my world, our world today,
And we invite the whole world, whole world to play.
Not quite. You can invite the whole world to watch, not to play. The World Cup, by design, is sort of an elitist event that allows only countries that clear rigorous preliminary rounds to qualify for a fixed number of berths awarded to each continent by FIFA.
As my colleague Dom Phillips wrote, Brazilians are already feeling like this year's event is missing much of what is quintessentially Brazilian. As if banning the samba drums from stadiums wasn't enough, the official song featured only one Brazilian singer but two American Latinos, Pitbull — who raps a line in Spanish, not Brazil’s Portuguese — and Lopez (who raps some lines in English).
To get over the disappointment, we're offering you the six best options — all of these were the official songs from the past World Cups — to replace (and possibly get over) "We are One."
La Copa de la Vida, (France, 1998): If I were FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, I would make this song the official World Cup song every four years. This upbeat screamer by Ricky Martin not only made him an international star, it reached millions around the world, topping the charts in almost every country you can imagine. Words don't do justice to the brilliance of the song, which almost immediately takes you to the soccer field every single time you listen to it.
Waka Waka, (South Africa, 2010): Had Ricky Martin not existed, Shakira's 2010 song would easily be the best official song for the World Cup. The song was inspired by a traditional African soldiers song called Zangalewa, originally performed by a Cameroonian group. Performed to a fantastic mix of Afro-Colombian techniques, Soca beat and South African guitars, "Waka Waka" was a fitting celebration for the first World Cup to be held in Africa.
Un'State Italiana, (Italy, 1990): Nothing screams "passion" more than this Italian song sung by Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato. With lines such as "magic nights following a goal under the sky of an Italian summer," "Un'State Italiana" is almost a beautifully crafted poem made for people who appreciate proper football.
El Rock del Mundial (Chile, 1962): This is old, but gold and needs to be listened to because it was the first time the World Cup had an official song. Performed by the Chilean rock/jazz group Los Ramblers, complete with hand claps and referee whistles, this song became an instant hit in South America and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.
World Cup Willie (England, 1966): The song chosen to represent the World Cup in England could not have sounded any more English than it did. Dedicated to the official mascot Willie, an oversize stuffed lion donning a Union Jack shirt and walking with its eyes almost shut, the song could have become a disaster, but instead it became a huge success, inspiring England to actually win their first and only World Cup.
Hot Hot Hot, (Mexico, 1986): Arrow's 1982 hit was so hot that it was chosen as the official song four years later for the World Cup in Mexico. Already a staple in nightclubs and discos around the world, "Hot Hot Hot" brought Arrow international recognition and is believed to have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
(hat tip: Sanya Thapa)
Did we not include your favorite World Cup song? Let us know in the comments section which one deserves to be among the best official World Cup songs of all time.
Read other World Cup-related posts:
- 20 World Cup goals that changed history
- The "true football" of Brazil
- See our full 2014 World Cup coverage