Both Shakira and Pitbull have made winning world cup anthems, but is her “La, La, La” or his “We Are One” the superior song?
Shakira became World Cup Music’s MVP with “Waka Waka,” the 2010 song that has sold almost ten million downloads worldwide, with 1.8 million in the United States (according to Nielsen SoundScan.) Four years later, the song is number five on the Billboard Digital Latin Songs chart. Shakira’s has since gotten closer to the game, particularly, of course, to baby daddy and FC Barcelona player Gerard Pique, and she’s used the home advantage to score his superstar teammates Messi and Neymar, who pose sexily in the video for her new World Cup song, “La,La,La (Brasil 2014).” The video is gaining speed, with over 47 million views since its debut May 22.
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It was Pitbull who made the initial goal as the artist signed for the official FIFA song, “We Are One,” which he’ll perform at the June 12 tournament opening in Sao Paulo. Shakira rallied to record a second official song for this year, but was reportedly turned down by FIFA partner Sony for that spot. Instead “La La La” is competing with Pitbull’s and others on the official World cup album, “One Love, One Rhythm,” the first FIFA World Cup album ever to chart on the Billboard 200, where it debuted at No. 45. Shakira’s anthem could turn out to be the fan favorite from the album.
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“We Are One (Ole, Ola),” on which Pitbull is joined by Jennifer Lopez has sold 74,000 downloads since April. That’s despite a popular backlash, particularly in Brazil, where the song has been criticized for lacking an authentically Brazilian feel, and resorting to token Brazilian touches in the form of light samba rhythms and a vocal assist from Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte.
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The video has girls in spangly tangas, shots of Corcovado and pumping football match footage. JLo’s got game in fierce in cheerleader mode. “We Are One” has more than 43 million views on YouTube. But commenters there and beyond have given Pit a hard time, suggesting the song is not World Cup caliber.
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Shakira’s “La La La (Brazil 2014)” is a version of the single “Dare (La La La) from her recent self-titled album. The World Cup remix features the charismatic Carlinhos Brown, known for his creative approach to Brazilian roots music. That version has sold 6,000 downloads to date, according to Soundscan, while all versions of “La La La” combined having sold 42,000.
The consciously surreal video references Afro-Brazilian heritage with tribal imagery, combining capoeira and soccer moves for some artsy athletic displays. Shakira balances a ball on her head and is in sexy earth mother mode in a long black skirt. Son Milan appears, kicking a soccer ball to an elephant. And then there are the soccer stars, smiling intimately into the camera. The video is sponsored by Dannon’s Activia yogurt in support of the United Nations World Food Programme, and also features cameos from a cast of beautiful children.
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That video has been criticized too. Singer-songwriter and video director Woodkid (Yoann Lemoine) pointed out the similarities between “La La La” images and those in the video for his own song “Iron.” He posted scenes from the two videos side by side on his Facebook page to illustrate the validity of his accusations.