Music

Pitbull: Planet Pit

The newly rechristened "Mr. Worldwide" is sharpening stones and picking up broads to improve his business acumen. It's a sign of the times.


Pitbull

Planet Pit

Label: J
US Release Date: 2011-06-21
UK Release Date: 2011-06-20
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Artist website
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The logo of a popular, Eurocentric paint company is a paint can glooping paint all over the world, optimistically branded with the slogan “Cover the Earth”. That’s disgusting. Not just because covering the earth with paint would result in a catastrophe of Biblical-if-not-Al-Gore-like proportions, but because of the slogan’s naked capitalist drive. If you’re a paint company, why do I care how much paint you sell? If you wanna cover the earth with your paint, just discuss it in your board meetings or twirl your mustache while you chortle “Cover the Earth” in your secret underground lair. I’m a customer, not a shareholder. I just want good paint. And it is good -- I just bought a couple cans of “Recycled Glass” the other day.

I’ve got similar reservations with Pitbull’s popular, Eurocentric new album Planet Pit. The title Planet Pit sounds like some hellish vision of our eco-disastrous paint-soaked future, Wall-E meets the Morlocks on the road, but it’s actually an opportunity for Sr. Armando Christian “Pitbull” Pérez to introduce his brand new slogan: “Mr. Worldwide”! He used to be “Mr. 305”, see, but now he’s got hoes in different area codes. “International Love” (first promotional single, feat. Chris Brown) mentions at least nine locales, plus “countries and cities I can’t pronounce / And places on the globe I didn’t know existed.” (Kyrgyzstan?) So in the interest of increasing his market share and his genetic footprint, Pitbull has decided to grow his brand and sink it deep into virgin territory. He positions himself for action, feels out the strategic gaps, and fills them with his acumen, forever keeping his eye on the back end. The guy’s a rainmaker.

In “Rain Over Me” (third single, ft. Marc Anthony), Pitbull boasts of his wealth, plugs the vodka he endorses, and tries to pick up a woman, all in the first four lines. Then he promises to make the woman’s peach feel peachy, and he pays her, and himself, a compliment: “No bullshit broads / I like my women sexy, classy, sassy.” He seems to be hitting on a fellow entrepreneur inside a hotel bar that’s blasting RedOne’s Eurodance beats. Chatting in Spanish and English, our two go-getters discuss the growing Latino presence in the U.S. and vow to paint the White House blanca before retiring to Pit’s room for a threesome, possibly with Marc Anthony. We never learn the woman’s name.

“Give Me Everything” (second single, peak Billboard position #1, feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer) basically equates the American Dream with getting laid. “Reach for the stars, and if you don’t grab them, at least you’re on top of the world,” cheers Pitbull, before twisting the knife: “Think about it, ‘cause if you slip, I’m gonna fall on top of your girl -- ha ha!” Hey Pit, I hear Senator Marco Rubio needs a message consultant. “Everything” glows with flashy synth swoops from Eurodance producer Afrojack, and it opens with a plug for the camera Pitbull endorses.

No product placements in the best song, “Pause” (second promotional single, and the only song on the album without any guest stars), though Zumba has incorporated it into a marketing campaign. Apparently you can video yourself doing “the Pause” for a chance to win fabulous prizes. I’m still deciding how to depict the couplet, “I’m such a dirty, dirty dawg / My teeth will unsnap your bra” through the medium of Terpsichore. Producers Affect and DJ Buddha make things easier; their beat is an enormous Miami-based cumbia with a gleefully obnoxious synth hook that blares atonally throughout, except when everything... PAUSES. It’s sort of a sped-up take on “Shake”, Pit’s ‘05 collaboration with the Ying Yang Twins. Along with “Shake Señora” (not yet a single, feat. T-Pain & Sean Paul), Pit’s handclapped, horny remake of Harry Belafonte’s “Jump In the Line”, “Pause” is one of the album’s few reminders that this captain of industry is also a Latin rapper. He still enjoys bouncing his gruff voice off tropical beats, a vocal conguero, but all those 4x4 stomps from the Continent give him fewer opportunities to do so.

What else have we got here? A Mama tribute that sounds like “Love to Make You Lie”, a Luke/Blanco tribute to operatic orgasms, a perfectly pleasant track from one of the LMFAO dudes, and “Something for the DJs”. Bangers all. Pit tries to sum everything up on “Where Do We Go”, where he ponders his next career move with the multitasking Jamie Foxx. “Half the world don’t like me, half the world wanna be me”, declares Sr. Pérez. Not exactly. I’m guessing nine-tenths of Planet Pit doesn’t know he exists. Of the remainder, a majority probably think he’s a pretty good rapper who knows how to solicit the best club beats his label can buy. But his marketing savvy has at least taught him this: it never hurts to promote yourself as controversial. And that, my friends, is what the rainmakers call sinergy.

6

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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Music

The Best Dance Tracks of 2017

Photo: Murielle Victorine Scherre (Courtesy of Big Beat Press)

From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.


In June of 2016, prolific producer Diplo lambasted the world of DJ's in an interview with Billboard, stating that EDM was dying. Coincidentally enough, the article's contents went viral and made their way into Vice Media's electronic music and culture channel Thump, which closed its doors after four years this summer amid company-wide layoffs. Months earlier, electronic music giant SFX Entertainment filed bankruptcy and reemerged as Lifestyle, Inc., shunning the term "EDM".

So here we are at the end of 2017, and the internet is still a flurry with articles declaring that Electronic Dance Music is rotting from the inside out and DJ culture is dying on the vine, devoured by corporate greed. That might all well be the case, but electronic music isn't disappearing into the night without a fight as witnessed by the endless parade of emerging artists on the scene, the rise of North America's first Electro Parade in Montréal, and the inaugural Electronic Music Awards in Los Angeles this past September.

For every insipid, automaton disc jockey-producer, there are innovative minds like Anna Lunoe, Four Tet, and the Black Madonna, whose eclectic, infectious sets display impeccable taste, a wealth of knowledge, and boundless creativity. Over the past few years, many underground artists have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight and lost the je ne sais quoi that made them unique. Regardless, there will always be new musicians, producers, singers, and visionaries to replace them, those who bring something novel to the table or tip a hat to their predecessors in a way that steps beyond homage and exhilarates as it did decades before.

As electronic music continues to evolve and its endless sub-genres continue to expand, so do fickle tastes, and preferences become more and more subjective with a seemingly endless list of artists to sift through. With so much music to digest, its no wonder that many artists remain under the radar. This list hopes to remedy that injustice and celebrate tracks both indie and mainstream. From the "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique to Stockholm Noir's brilliant string of darkly foreboding, electro-licked singles, here are ten selections that represent some of the more intriguing dance offerings of 2017.

10. Moullinex - “Work It Out (feat. Fritz Helder)”

Taken from Portuguese producer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist Luis Clara Gomes' third album Hypersex, "Work It Out" like all of its surrounding companions is a self-proclaimed, "collective love letter to club culture, and a celebration of love, inclusion and difference." Dance music has always seemingly been a safe haven for "misfits" standing on the edge of the mainstream, and while EDM manufactured sheen might have taken the piss out of the scene, Hypersex still revels in that defiant, yet warm and inviting attitude.

Like a cheeky homage to Rick James and the late, great High Priest of Pop, Prince, this delectably filthy, sexually charged track with its nasty, funk-drenched bass line, couldn't have found a more flawless messenger than former Azari & III member Fritz Helder. As the radiant, gender-fluid artist sings, "you better work your shit out", this album highlight becomes an anthem for all those who refuse to bow down to BS. Without any accompanying visuals, the track is electro-funk perfection, but the video, with its ruby-red, penile glitter canon, kicks the whole thing up a notch.

9. Touch Sensitive - “Veronica”

The neon-streaked days of roller rinks and turtlenecks, leg warmers and popped polo collars have come and gone, but you wouldn't think so listening to Michael "Touch Sensitive" Di Francesco's dazzling debut Visions. The Sydney-based DJ/producer's long-awaited LP and its lead single "Lay Down", which shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts, are as retro-gazing as they are distinctly modern, with nods to everything from nu disco to slo-mo house.

Featuring a sample lifted from 90s DJ and producer Paul Johnson's "So Much (So Much Mix)," the New Jack-kissed "Veronica" owns the dance floor. While the conversational interplay between the sexed-up couple is anything but profound, there is no denying its charms, however laughably awkward. While not everything on Visions is as instantly arresting, it is a testament to Di Francesco's talents that everything old sounds so damn fresh again.

8. Gourmet - “Delicious”

Neither Gourmet's defiantly eccentric, nine-track debut Cashmere, nor its subsequent singles, "There You Go" or "Yellow" gave any indication that the South African purveyor of "spaghetti pop" would drop one of the year's sassiest club tracks, but there you have it. The Cape Town-based artist, part of oil-slick, independent label 1991's diminutive roster, flagrantly disregards expectation on his latest outing, channeling the Scissor Sisters at their most gloriously bitchy best, Ratchet-era Shamir, and the shimmering dance-pop of UK singer-producer Joe Flory, aka Amateur Best.

With an amusingly detached delivery that rivals Ben Stein's droning roll call in Ferris Bueller's Day Off , he sings "I just want to dance, and fuck, and fly, and try, and fail, and try again…hold up," against a squelchy bass line and stabbing synths. When the percussive noise of what sounds like a triangle dinner bell appears within the mix, one can't help but think that Gourmet is simply winking at his audience, as if to say, "dinner is served."

7. Pouvoir Magique - “Chalawan”

Like a psychoactive ayahuasca brew, the intoxicating "shamanic techno" of Parisian duo Pouvoir Magique's LP Disparition, is an exhilarating trip into unfamiliar territory. Formed in November of 2011, "Magic Power" is the musical project of Clément Vincent and Bertrand Cerruti, who over the years, have cleverly merged several millennia of songs from around the world with 21st-century beats and widescreen electro textures. Lest ye be worried, this is anything but Deep Forest.

In the spring of 2013, Pouvoir Magique co-founded the "Mawimbi" collective, a project designed to unite African musical heritage with contemporary soundscapes, and released two EPs. Within days of launching their label Musiques de Sphères, the duo's studio was burglarized and a hard drive with six years of painstakingly curated material had vanished. After tracking down demos they shared with friends before their final stages of completion, Clément and Bertrand reconstructed an album of 12 tracks.

Unfinished though they might be, each song is a marvelous thing to behold. Their stunning 2016 single "Eclipse," with its cinematic video, might have been one of the most immediate songs on the record, but it's the pulsing "Chalawan," with its guttural howls, fluttering flute-like passages, and driving, hypnotic beats that truly mesmerizes.

6. Purple Disco Machine - “Body Funk” & “Devil In Me” (TIE)

Whenever a bevy of guest artists appears on a debut record, it's often best to approach the project with caution. 85% of the time, the collaborative partners either overshadow the proceedings or detract from the vision of the musician whose name is emblazoned across the top of the LP. There are, however, pleasant exceptions to the rule and Tino Piontek's Soulmatic is one of the year's most delightfully cohesive offerings. The Dresden-born Deep Funk innovator, aka Purple Disco Machine, has risen to international status since 2009, releasing one spectacular track and remix after another. It should go without saying that this long-awaited collection, featuring everyone from Kool Keith to Faithless and Boris D'lugosch, is ripe with memorable highlights.

The saucy, soaring "Mistress" shines a spotlight on the stellar pipes of "UK soul hurricane" Hannah Williams. While it might be a crowning moment within the set, its the strutting discofied "Body Funk", and the album's first single, "Devil In Me", that linger long after the record has stopped spinning. The former track with its camptastic fusion of '80s Sylvester gone 1940s military march, and the latter anthem, a soulful stunner that samples the 1968 Stax hit "Private Number", and features the vocal talents of Duane Harden and Joe Killington, feels like an unearthed classic. Without a doubt, the German DJ's debut is one of the best dance records of the year.

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