Pitbull follows his usual recipe on 10th LP, Climate Change. Each track combines rapped verses with a soaring pop chorus, all seasoned with a sprinkling of boasts about money, success and sexual conquests. That’s not to say he doesn’t make a few tweaks and veer off on the occasional, unexpected tangent. There are plenty of surprises, but you already know what you’re going to get before you press play. And that’s ok with me. The world needs more party anthems and Mr. Worldwide always comes through.
What separates this album from the rest of Pit’s discography is the prevalence of male features and adventurous, genre-hopping production. The result is a muscular collection of jock jams that compels your body to move. Or at least throw your hands up in the air when you’re not chugging a drink. As usual, it’s more of a playlist than a traditional body of work. You simply take what you like and leave the rest. I’m keeping at least two thirds of Climate Change on my phone, which is a respectable ratio by any measure.
Given the scarcity of female features, it’s worth mentioning them first. Kiesza opens the album with “We Are Strong” — a dancehall-infused bop that interpolates Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield.” It shouldn’t work, but it does courtesy of the crisp beats and Pit’s cocky rap. As expected, one of the highlights is Mr. 305’s collaboration with Jennifer Lopez. Like peanuts and beer, these two just belong together. “Sexy Body” isn’t as instant as “On The Floor” or as joyous as “Dance Again,” but it goes hard and cleverly recycles the chorus of Zara Larsson’s “I Would Like.”
The same can’t be said, however, of the rapper’s unexpected union with Leona Lewis on “Only Ones To Know.” This sounds like a throwback to the Brit’s underrated Glassheart LP with its distinctly British house production. Unfortunately, the chorus doesn’t cut it and the line “fuck the Facebook, fuck the Twitter, fuck the snapchat, fuck the Instagram” is a slap in the face to social media-obsessed kids. While the ladies represent a mixed bag, the album really comes into its own when Pitbull bros out with other alpha males.
The best song on the album is “Options,” a sweet reggae-tinged anthem featuring Stephen Marley. “I got, I got, I got, I got options, you da, you da, you da, you da top one,” Bob’s son sings on the simple, but ruthlessly addictive chorus. When you combine that with unusually mellow verses brimming with wisdom (“show me your friends, I’ll show you your future”), this is no-brainer for a single. Almost as good is the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Better On Me” — a furious drum-and-bass experiment with my Pit’s best quip on the album: “My name ain’t Max but I always got headroom.”
Pitbull and Jason Derulo’s “Educate Ya” is also worth a mention. It’s a sexy bedroom anthem with quicksilver beats and lashings of percussion. This is a good example of Miami mogul’s willingness to experiment. It sounds like a Cameo song from the ’80s on steroids and I liked it a little more with each listen. I’m not as obsessed with “Dedicated,” a curious collaboration with R. Kelly and Austin Mahone. The track adds a little R&B to the mix, but it takes the foot off the gas tempo-wise and dampens the mood momentarily.
That takes us to the singles. (There have already been five). I appreciate the darker, edgier production on “Can’t Have” and support the unexpected rock detour that is “Bad Man.” I’m also here for the quirky samples on “Freedom” and “Messin’ Around.” However, the real gem is “Greenlight.” This is a battle of the party rap titans. Pitbull and Flo Rida trade verses, while LunchMoney Lewis holds the whole thing together with a deceptively catchy hook. In a less bleak, inward looking year than 2016, this would have been a smash. If you’re in the mood to turn up, this is the song and album for you.