New Music Review: Pitbull; ‘Planet Pit’ (LISTEN)
Buying Planet Pit is like listening to a Journey album: you know what you’re getting. With Journey, it’s wailing guitar solos and glass-shattering high notes from Steve Perry or Arnel Pineida, or whomever it is imploring the Bic-waving masses to not stop believin’. Every singly time, without fail. For Pitbull, it’s rump-shaking beats purposed to vaporize dance floors and facilitate sweaty, illicit lovemaking in some lavish Miami mansion probably on loan from the villain in Bad Boys II. It’s schlock-rap at its most bombastic, but luckily for Pitbull, the packaging is consistently tight and listener-friendly. It helps that Pitbull himself is easily accessible; he’s the Pepe Le Pew of rap, too goofy to be sexually threatening, despite talking a big game. Even when he sings a song like “I Know You Want Me” – which, by the way, is pretty vulgar – the sleazier aspects slip right by you because of his personality. He’s the slick-Willie Latin crooner with just a hint of danger to go with his truckloads of cheesy romantic nothings.
Planet Pit, his latest, doesn’t do much to advance this concept or cast it in a new light (suffice it to say when the most intricate thing here is the goes-down-easy single “Give Me Everything,” we’re in style-over-substance territory to say the least), as beat it into the ground, but it does so delightfully. Self-dubbed “Mr. Worldwide” (he even names the intro track that), Pitbull is one of the more likeable hacks out there; unlike, say, Wiz Khalifa, whose album not only underwhelmed but seemed like it was awfully tough for him to make it so, everything Pitbull does sounds effortless, and as a result, a lot more amusing. Quick, watch him dart back-and-forth across tracks like “International Love” and “Pause,” switching language like someone pressed an SAP button, with a flow that’s both rat-a-tat and smooth like sugar; he’s a less intimidating, more consistent version of Flo Rida.
It would all be very tiring if Pitbull didn’t switch it up every now and then, but luckily, he’s got a finely tuned set of pop sensibilities to go with all the bumping and grinding. If there’s one way Pitbull has managed to avoid (however precariously) the hip-hop cliché of every song sounding exactly the same, it’s that he’s an inventive sampler and interpreter of other people’s songs. On Planet Pit, he hijacks Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line” alongside T-Pain and Sean Paul and turns it (well, mauls it, really, but Beetlejuice fans will have to live with it) into a skittish reggaeton banger called “Shake Señora.” It’s an easy shot, sure, but it’s one of the more irreverently amusing moments on an album that’s full of them.
At 12 tracks (a 16-track “Deluxe Edition” is for purists only, although there is a fun “Shake Señora” with Ludacris), Pitbull seems to have found out less is more. Planet Pit wears out its welcome somewhere around track 10 (the aww-shucks mama tribute “Castle Made of Sand”), but by then it’s like refusing a free couple mojitos at the end of a party when you know there’s no hangover waiting on the other side.
LISTEN: Pitbull feat. T-Pain and Sean Paul; “Shake Señora”:
READ: More Faster Music Reviews:
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