Yesterday afternoon, Cuban-American rapper Pitbull unveiled “We Are One (Ole Ola),” the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Song that features Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian pop singer Cláudia Leitte. The track, which was crafted by the musical dream team of RedOne (Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”), Dr. Luke (Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”), and Sia Furler (Rihanna’s “Diamonds”) works its way into your head after a few repeat listens, but it doesn’t hold a candle to previous World Cup song, Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa).” (Thankfully, Shakira did an alternate version of her new song, “Dare (La La La),” for One Love, One Rhythm — The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album.)
“We Are One” is a classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” It sounds like three songs all mashed up into one. There’s just too much going on! Pitbull kicks things off with a little rapping and some truly pitiful “singing.” (Side note: have you heard Pitbull sing the chorus of “Timber”? You must.) Then, J. Lo bursts onto the scene like the Kool-Aid man with a fierce verse that sounds like it belongs in a completely different song altogether. Finally, Leitte closes things out with her brief but enjoyable contribution, which, again, doesn’t sound like it quite fits in. Oh well. At least the chorus is appropriately uplifting:
Put your flags up in the sky (put ‘em in the sky)
And wave ‘em side to side (side to side)
Show the world where you’re from (show ‘em where you’re from)
Show the world we are one
Compare “We Are One” to “Waka Waka”? Ha! Surely, you jest! Listening to “Waka Waka” is a life-changing experience. It makes me feel like I could lift a car over my head and achieve my dreams. When Shakira sings, “Today’s your day, I feel it. You paved the way, believe it!” it’s like she’s singing directly to me. You can’t put a price on that! “Waka Waka” is one unified force of happiness and inspiration — “We Are One” sounds like three different musical vignettes that are only loosely connected by some annoying (but catchy) whistling.
Check out “We Are One” via YouTube below. You be the judge: which is the superior World Cup song?