Pitbull continues bizarre, polarizing quest for radio domination

Rapper Pitbull's new album features familiar pop hooks and some cringe-worthy lyrics. Eva Rinaldi via Flickr Creative Commons

Hailing from the bizarre and distinct Floridian metropolis that is Miami, Pitbull — also known as Mr. Worldwide, a self-selected nickname — has, in recent years, made himself into a staple of pop music. The origins of this inexplicably popular mainstream rapper are important: Pitbull is known to frequently cite and intone all things Miami in his music, most saliently the zip-code of the famed party capital, 305. Since reaching mainstream audiences, Pitbull has managed to share Cuban horns, rhythmic percussion and even local jargon (think, “dalé”) of Miami with the country and, ultimately, with the world. Pitbull has maintained this tradition with his most recent studio album — his eighth — aptly titled “Globalization.” Released Nov. 24, “Globalization” follows “Planet Pit” (2011) and the indelicately named “Global Warming” (2012), making it clear to fans and critics alike that Pitbull has set his sights on a global audience. His presence on a myriad of popular tracks in recent years is further evidence of Mr. Worldwide’s most recent ambition.

On “Globalization,” Pitbull, a musician rarely known for his delicacy or artistry, has managed to produce exactly the album that listeners have grown to expect. Riddled with heavy-handed lyrics about hooking up in a tropical club and strange attempts at more sentimental rap-ballads with catchy hooks, “Globalization” has “Pitbull” written all over it from start to finish. This prognosis constitutes either a triumph or tragedy, depending on the listener. Those who have hated Pitbull since 2009’s “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” will hang their heads in despair after listening to the album opener, “Ah Leke (feat. Sean Paul).” Those who have given themselves over to the power of the Pit, however, will find their new club banger on “Globalization.”

Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr Creative Commons

Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr Creative Commons

This album is hardly Pitbull’s worst, but — let’s face it — Pitbull has never had a best. However, despite his buffoonish persona and truly senseless lyrics and flow, Pitbull is a cheap musical thrill whose talents speak to the dirty chin-strapioed club promoter in each of us. Though many of the tracks seem to have the production quality that GarageBand affords, others still have some of the Pitbull magic that many may recognize from songs like “Timber” (2013) and “Give Me Everything” (2011). Notable tracks on the album include one of the singles, “Wild Wild Love (feat. G.R.L.).” A sickly-sweet hook and “Timber”-esque chorus anchors Pitbull’s endearingly silly verses, producing an all-but-guaranteed radio smash. Another great track, “Time of Our Lives,” sees Pitbull teaming up once again with R&B veteran Ne-Yo. Once again peppered with embarrassing lyrics, the instrumentation of “Time of Our Lives” is just unique enough to elicit serious radio-play. With notes of electronica and funk, “Time of Our Lives” is the most musically exciting song on the album.

However, in what is a typical pitfall of Pitbull, with the handful of great pop tunes on “Globalization” come some truly embarrassing attempts. “Sexy Beaches” is a song that must be heard to be believed. The song, about a coastal hotel with a beach and a pool, is comical at best. Much of Pitbull’s rapping on the song consists of him repeating the words, “sexy beaches / hotels / sexy beaches / hotels.”

Ultimately, “Globalization” is whatever you’d like it to be. For those with more refined musical tastes, “Globalization” will be the butt of many jokes and will only be listened to ironically. However, for those looking to have a good time, “Globalization” can be the catalyst of heavy drinking and flawed decision-making. In either case, there is one inescapable truth about “Globalization”: It is distinctly Pitbull, which makes it easy to love and even easier to hate.


Summary

For those with more refined musical tastes, “Globalization” will be the butt of many jokes and will only listened to ironically.

3 stars
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