Climate Change leaves Ben Lomax wishing it really was just a hoax made up by the Chinese
Released 17th March via Mr. 305 inc.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the so-called “Mr Worldwide” would take such a keen interest in the state of the planet, and believe it or not this isn’t his first foray into terrestrial climate science. His seventh studio album, released back in 2012, was titled Global Warming, reportedly because like the phenomenon, he’s “been around a while but all of a sudden people are starting to pay attention”. This time around, Pitbull says it’s because “I feel like every time we put out an album we change the climate in the music business”, though I’d also propose that, much like actual climate change, it’s a man-made disaster.
Pitbull is a man of many suits and few ties: a businessman first, entertainer second and musician somewhere further along the line. He’s back, now on his tenth studio album and still a true master of the arts of rhyming a word with itself and taking an entire verse to say nothing at all.
There’s little point making note of how the album opens as it really is just a collection of songs with seemingly no rhyme or reason to its ordering. Second track ‘Bad Man’ features overall bad person Robin Thicke, and honestly the less said about this song the better, save for the fact I very genuinely never want to have to hear it again.
‘Greenlight’, surprisingly, is a show-stealer and is “yours truly, Mr. WW” at his best, it’s actually a pretty slick, fun piece of club pop complete with squealing saxophones and a dangerously funky bassline. LunchMoney Lewis and Flo Rida give solidly entertaining performances, it’s well produced, and in a world that now possesses a Chainsmokers-Coldplay collaboration it’s far from the worst thing out there. To be honest though, it’s mostly downhill from here on.
Songs like ‘Freedom’ are exactly the kind of messes Pitbull has built up a reputation for, inane verses over big beats, sandwiched between a butchered version of the hook from an existing song. This time it’s the turn of the Rolling Stones’ ‘I’m Free’ to be picked out by farmer Pit, taken out back and shot in the head. While, in fairness, ‘We Are Strong’ pulls off this same formula considerably better in the form of a thumping 80s revival club banger, ‘Freedom’ is a nice reminder of the kind of audio atrocity he’s capable of.
If Akon was once “trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful”, on ‘Educate Ya’ Pitbull clearly makes no such attempt. In what one only assume is a thought-provoking take on linguistic barriers in America, Pit claims to be fluent in both English and Spanish in ‘Messin’ Around’ but spends the entirety of the album seeming trying to disprove the former. Along with ‘Options’ this song is also notable for taking an astonishing eight people to write, further implying that eight separate people thought either of these were acceptable creations to release upon the world.
The track listing notably lacks a feature from frequent collaborator Chris Brown, with the album’s apparent quota for guests with more-than-questionable histories regarding how they treat women instead filled by R. Kelly, the aforementioned Thicke and producer Dr. Luke. It does however include an appearance from Leona Lewis, who in doing so plays an absolute blinder in the competition between former X-factor contestants to reach career low-points.
The album closes with ‘Can’t Have’, a forgettable but surprisingly listenable affair considering what’s come before it, and despite our man Pit’s best attempts (especially at the 1:01 mark) he fails to murder it. It’s one of the handful of songs that couldn’t have been written before 2010 and herein lies the most glaring problem with Climate Change: half of it plays like a Now That’s What I Call Music compilation from a particularly dry month in 2007. Times have changed: Justin Bieber is releasing actual bangers and Katy Perry’s taking on the big issues with her new brand of ‘purposeful pop’, leaving poor Pit in their dust.
Call me a cynic, but while I never expected much in the way of challenging social critique or insightful introspection from the man who holds the record for the most songs appearing in the Fast and Furious franchise, the inconvenient truth is that too much of this album is just unbearable. It’s fair enough that some music’s best listened to loud and under the influence, but there’s little point if you need to be catatonic to enjoy it.