Well-worn but never quite worn out, Pitbull classics like “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” and “Hotel Room Service” are always a go-to for playlists if you want a song everyone can sing along to. He’s been around for a while now, having released his first album M.I.A.M.I. in 2004 and been on an up and up trajectory with many collaborations with big-name artists. In Climate Change, released Friday, Pitbull has (once again) gathered artists like Enrique Iglesias, Robin Thicke, J-Lo and Kiesza to do a lot of the heavy lifting in most of his tracks with their vocals.
Listen to Climate Change on Spotify:
But, between Lopez reiterating ad nauseam how much she’d “like to get/a piece of that sexy body,” and Jason Derulo crooning out, just as frequently, his potential to be a great educator in the bed department, Pitbull actually waxes a little nostalgia. He sends out the platitude “The grass looks greener on the other side/’til you get to the other side…” in “Can’t Have,” then follows up with “ducked prison, ducked death, I’m fortunate/it was all a dream, now I wake up and live it/thinking that the sky was the limit/’til I figured out there’s footprints on the moon.” In case we don’t get his point by the second verse in this track, he draws it out so clearly you can’t misinterpret it; “first me make the sandwich/then we own the restaurants/first we clean the house/then we own every house on the block/not bad for some immigrants.”
Watch out, Trump. Listen to that one too many times and you might catch some of your own family history in that line. And like Trump after the election, Pitbull is also taking a victory tour here (but maybe a more tasteful one?), telling all of us, several times over, just how far he’s made it; hence the brand-name appearances, the frequent references to how much his life has changed and his nod and flippant middle-finger to people who think he’s outdated.
Don’t start listening to this album expecting supreme storytelling, or even a real reason to keep the tracks in any kind of order. This is basically another shuffle album composed entirely of catchy singles and repeated forays into accomplishments and prowess. The one layer to the album that speaks to Pitbull’s innovation is actually its title — paired with other releases like Globalization and Global Warming, it’s meant to draw attention to the global environmental crises, not to give any insight to the tracks themselves. In changing his branding from Mr. 305 to Mr. Worldwide, he solidified his approach of not only producing music meant for a wider audience, but using the broadening of his scope to draw attention to climate change. Pitbull’s intention, it seems, is to stick an issue he’s passionate about in plain sight so his listeners might give it more thought on a day-to-day basis. So, maybe he’s not so similar to Trump after all.
Apart from not having much in common, aside from all being catchy and sharing typical club beats, the tracks aren’t bad. But, they aren’t going to blow your mind. Standalone track “Messin’ Around,” made with Iglesias and released as Climate Change’s lead single last April, is undeniably catchy, sophomoric and has, at best, a piecemeal story about someone hearing from someone that someone else is messing around. They hope that the someone also heard from someone, who heard from someone, that the messing around is mutual. If you can make it through that logic, you’re good to go. The rest are a lot more straightforward — unless you count “give me the greenlight ‘cause I’m ready to go/let’s have a good time/what you waiting for?” as being esoteric.
Again, the album isn’t worn out, but it’s probably not going to surprise you either. “Options,” featuring Stephen Marley, might be the most unexpected track, and you feel like Pitbull barely touched it. The rest of the tracks are good, of course, but they don’t feel particularly innovative. It’s an album full of singles I would listen to over and over again, and I love the momentum of tracks like “Can’t Have” and “Freedom,” but this isn’t an album I’m going to sit down with and listen from start to finish while I’m walking to class or on a road trip. And that’s okay — because sometimes you just have to be okay with calling out something for what it is. Climate Change is a group of successful singles united under an album name and it’s probably going to stay that way, but it’s still a collection of singles that are all worth your time.
Jessie Weber is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.