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World Cup 2014 : Of Pitbull, Shakira and the beautiful song

Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 12, 2014
First Published: 17:43 IST(12/6/2014) | Last Updated: 23:20 IST(12/6/2014)

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It's Ole Ola (We Are One) Vs La, La,La (Brazil 2014), and it doesn't get bigger than this.

The official rap-pop anthem of the Fifa World Cup, featuring Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian pop singer Claudia Leitte, seems to have scored a self-goal of sorts with critics dismissing it as a 'big bag of cliches' and full of 'lazy stereotypes'.

No wonder then that Shakira's new song, La, La, La (Brazil 2014) is now being championed as the alternative anthem the world over. Since its release last month, the video has already clocked a whopping 47 million views! So, whose side are you on? Pitbull's or Shakira's?



Before you make your choice, let's look at the few good things Pitbull has to offer. Keep that sledgehammer aside for some time.

First up, try to listen to the song in isolation: meaning, forget, for now, that it is the official Fifa World Cup anthem… yeah, just don't also think of the football fever that's gripped the world. Like it? Think it is a good song?

Here's more. Ole Ola has a good mix of English and Spanish words (okay, most of it is random gibberish for us). But do we really care for the lyrics as long as the music does the trick? Come on, it is definitely a great progress from Pitbull mouthing three-four absolutely random capital cities of first world countries in all his songs (L.A. Miami New York, Say no more, Get on the floor- On the Floor). If this much Spanish wasn't enough for you he brought Claudia Leitte for you with quite a chunk of Spanish lyrics.

Read: Jennifer Lopez back on board for Fifa opening ceremony

It has enough whistles and drums… and yes, a steady parade of Brazilian women in those famous bejeweled samba costumes. Sure, that's what the song's critics deride it for, but do you see anybody here in India complaining about it?

Still holding on to that sledgehammer? We know, we know!

The Brazilian feel is all too well, but amidst all the rage around the beautiful game, it seems Pitbull forgot the game completely. Listening to the song and watching the video are two entirely different experiences: the video runs a long montage of previous years' games with some really iconic and loved faces. Those are enough to warm any football fan's heart.

Here's what we think kills the song. Just when you get into the groove with all those loud drums and whistles, you are punched right in the face with some obnoxious RnB music. And before you realize, you feel you have been teleported from a football field to an uptown club.

Without being too harsh on the guy, Ole Ola could perhaps qualify as Pitbull's magnum opus. But to call it the best Fifa anthem would be a really, really far cry.

You have a difference in opinion? Compare it to Shakira's La, La, La, already a Youtube favourite. Here's the video.

The Columbian pop star has always been the darling of football fans. Remember Waka Waka, the song supreme of 2010 South Africa World Cup, and the sixth most watched video on Youtube of all time! And it had no montages, drums, whistles, or Spanish words… How could such a song work as a World Cup? But it does.

This year too, Shakira's proven that the spirit of the game is bigger than all these distractions. Its music transcends from the usual typical Latino beats and sounds like what a song of 21st century should sound like.

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Even the video is a work of art. It has tigers and elephants, among others, playing football! Beat that Pitbull.

The setting is pretty much like what we saw in Waka Waka four years ago, but the gentle cheerfulness of the old has been replaced by the raging and fierce sprit of the new.

One thing that we found irksome was the complete absence of any Spanish belonging. But fret not, Shakira has another version of the song, completely in Spanish for those of you who are a little orthodox in their choices.

Read: Shakira unveils second official World Cup song

This, however, is not the first time that that such a difference in opinion has sprouted up. The selection of an official song and the subsequent disagreement on that choice among fans is as old as the world cup itself.

Last time, in 2010, the official song was Shakira's Waka Waka and as we mentioned earlier, the song was a grand success and loved by all but quite a great chunk of public was swept off their feet by K'naan's Waving Flag.



The song first appeared as an advertisement for Coca Cola trying to cash in on the football fever. The song had everything needed for a Fifa anthem and more. The right African vibe, the beautiful and inspiring lyrics, music you can sing along to and an earthy voice.

But those years are behind us. This year though, in the war of songs, Pitbull might have won the crown but the one true queen, the one who rules the hearts of the subjects is Shakira. Both will be performing at the opening ceremony in Brazil.


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