Climate Change is an album that Pitbull saves simply by being Pitbull. It’s also an album whose main failing is Pitbull simply being Pitbull.
Having been in the music business for over ten years, Pitbull has nailed down his musical style. A Pitbull song features brag rap or party centric verses, while a talented yet affordable singer sings the chorus and hook. Occasionally the song is in Spanish but Pitbull will at least mention Cuba no matter what. There are Youtube mastercuts of all the times Pitbull has said “Miami”, “dale”, or “Mister Worldwide” in his songs. All of this is to say that Pitbull is an established artist with an established style and Climate Change does not deviate from that norm in the slightest. If you like Pitbull, you’ll like this album. Conversely, if you loathe Pitbull, you’ll loathe this album. As someone who sits in the middle of the Pitbull Spectrum, I find this album just okay.
The problem with most of Pitbull’s songs is that the chorus has absolutely nothing to do with the verses. “We Are Strong,” “Bad Man,” and “Better On Me” have typically Pitbull verses: coming up from Miami, how he likes the ladies, look at all the money he has. They also have choruses that seem like they were transplanted from different songs, literally in “We Are Strong’s” case as it’s a reinterpretation of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield.” “Better On Me” whiplashes from Ty Dolla $ign’s horrifically sexist chorus whining about how his ex-girlfriend “looks better on [him]” compared to her current man right to Pitbull singing about how he’s got mirrors on the ceiling and gets lots of sex. Likewise, one of the verses on “We Are Strong” features Pitbull rapping about how much of an old soul he is in a borderline ‘kids these days’ way right before Kiesza slams into the chorus with “we are young.” She certainly is, but Pitbull isn’t.
Reinterpretation is the name of the game. Multiple songs directly sample previously established music, most notably “Messin Around,” the album’s first single which features Enrique Iglesias and briefly received radio play and possibly one of the worst songs on the album. “Messin Around’s” problems are two-fold. One, the frantic and messy production does absolutely nothing for the song. Iglesias’s voice is smushed between layers of autotune and a far too busy production. Two, there is absolutely no way REO Speedwagon and specifically “Take It On The Run” can be reworked for a trap style dance-pop number. Much better are the songs that don’t sample but instead homage. “Greenlight” has absolutely nothing to do with the Lorde song of the same name (and frankly never reaches the heights that the Lorde song of the same name does), but remains one of the better songs of the album, partly due to the Morris Day style oh-wee-oh’s that happen after the chorus. It’s an annoyingly catchy song, made even more annoying by the fact that one of the producers behind the song is noted scumbag Dr. Luke.
This is not a good album. And yet, I can’t hate it. Pitbull’s greatest strength is his charm, which is on display in full force on this album. Throughout his entire career, he’s managed to force his way through stupid lyrics and groan-worthy references with his sheer charm and earnestness. He’s the musical equivalent of a dad joke. Every time Pitbull makes a silly pun or a ridiculous lyric, it’s always done in a wink-wink nudge-nudge ‘did you see what I did’ sort of manner. Occasionally he’ll even pause to make certain the joke is appreciated, as shown in this lyric from “Better On Me”: “My name ain’t Max but I always got headroom / get it? G-g-g-get it?” That goofy charm has worked to his advantage in previous songs: easily the best part of the otherwise slightly above average “Time of Our Lives” is when Pitbull briefly slips into an anti-suicide message. His genuine earnestness is what keeps that moment from being hokey as all hell and it’s what saves this album from being absolutely awful. Climate Change certainly isn’t going to be breaking any pop records or winning Pitbull any awards. But for fun music to clean the house to or listen to with the car windows rolled down, it certainly succeeds.