The battle for the best World Cup 2014 song may in fact be no contest.
The official FIFA World Cup 2014 song is "We Are One (Ole Ola)" by Cuban Pitbull, New York Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez, and Brazilan Claudia Leitte.
But Brazilians – and many others - are reportedly not impressed. The lyrics and video are described as a "big pile of cliches" and the music fails to pay proper homage to Brazil’s own rich musical heritage.
The music video, as of May 24, 2014, had more than 30 million views, but 60,000 dislikes on YouTube, and almost 200,000 likes. Certainly no a flop but not a great hit.
The Los Angeles Times shared a few of the tweets about the official song:
“The song is terrible. If the World Cup is in Brazil, why two foreign singers and almost the entire song in English?” read one comment. @LorenEdelstein asked “We Are One has a Caribbean beat, not a Brazilian beat. Did they mix up where the World Cup is happening?”
But the cause of the most wincing across this country was the reproduction of the same visual stereotypes which have dominated Brazil's reputation for decades, which many had hoped the 2014 World Cup would help them move past.
“This World Cup theme song is a big pile of cliches,” tweeted Leka Peres, 27, a DJ and music journalist who previously worked as a program director at MTV Brazil.
The Colombian songstress, who starred in the 2010 official FIFA World Cup song (Waka, Waka), wasn’t content to sit on the musical sidelines this time around – not when the world’s biggest sporting event is taking place right next door to her home country. Shakira’s World Cup 2014 song, “LaLaLa Brazil 2014,” is one of the 16 titles listed on the official “One Love, One Rhythm” FIFA World Cup album. Yes, there's an album.
While debuting after the official anthem, Shakira's tune is quickly usurping the Pitbull-JLo song as most popular on the 2014 album.
It doesn't hurt that her music video features some famous soccer players - Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Eric Abidal, Neymar, James Rodreguez, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao – all friends of Barcelona center-back Gerard Pique, who is also Shakira’s boyfriend and father of her 16-month-old son (who also has a cute cameo at the end of the video).
Shakira teamed up with Activia yoghurt for the video and is sharing a portion of the proceeds with the World Food Program (WFP). Shakira said: "With 'La La La (Brazil 2014)' we want to make a small contribution so that everybody knows about the outstanding work the World Food Program is doing to fight hunger."
"La la La (Brazil 2014), is actually a reworked version of "Dare," a Shakira single released in March 2014. The newer World Cup version features Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown.
How is Shakira's video doing on YouTube? It had more than 18 million views after two days. 181,000 likes, 11,000 dislikes. A 16 to 1 ratio of Likes/Dislikes, compared with the official Pitbull/JLo song of just 3 to 1.
Of course, Shakira (and FIFA) should be familiar with the criticism directed at the official song. In 2010, she was the one taking the heat. When ‘Waka, Waka’ debuted, South Africans weren’t impressed either - and for similar reasons.
The official World Cup opening concert was to feature pop stars from around the world, but just a few from South Africa.
How, they argued, can FIFA bring hundreds of thousands of tourists and sports fans all the way to Africa's most developed country at the continent's southern tip and not put South African artists up on stage?
On May 4, FIFA corrected all that, adding South African acts Freshlyground (previously scheduled only as a backup band to Shakira), Hugh Masekela, the Soweto Gospel Choir, and Somali hip-hop star K’naan.
Such nationalistic battles over the best world cup theme music have been going on since 1962, when the Chilean rock band Los Ramblers sang "El Rock del Mundial," which debuted as the first official world cup song.
What have been the best world cup songs of the past 50 years? Check out the Billboard Top 10 list, where you can hear Los Ramblers, who sound like they're covering an Elvis Presley hit.