By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – While the announcement of “We Are One (Ole Ola)”, as the official theme song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was met with criticism, many other recording artists, organizations and companies have released songs, both official and unofficial, in an attempt to musically define all or parts of the tournament, and some are proving successful.
One Love, One Rhythm – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album has thus far released five singles, the first being the tournament’s official theme, “We Are One (Ole Ola),” featuring Cuban-American rapper-singer Pitbull, American entertainer Jennifer Lopez of Puerto Rican descent, and Brazilian axé singer Claudia Leitte.
The choice of the song was criticized for not featuring more Brazilian musicians; for more English and Spanish than Portuguese lyrics; and for its video being a cliche-ridden portrayal of the country that was not truly representative of Brazil’s rich culture and diverse population.
The biggest criticism, however, was that it simply wasn’t a good song. “What I don’t like about the music is that it’s a poor, dull, generic pop theme,” Brazilian music journalist Gaia Passarelli told Billboard.com adding, “It’s a shame considering Brazil’s rich musical tradition, which is admired all over the world.”
“Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way),” the World Cup’s official anthem, was the third single released from One Love, One Rhythm. The song, recorded by Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean, Avicii and Brazilian singer Alexandre Pires, will be performed by the four artists live in Maracanã Stadium on July 13th for the World Cup closing match.
The album’s fifth single, Colombian singer Shakira’s “La La La (Brazil 2014)“, a re-worked World Cup version of her single “Dare (La La La)” featuring Brazilian singer Carlinhos Brown and alternate World Cup inspired lyrics, has been rapidly climbing the charts and receiving praise from critics.
Shakira, who also had an international hit with, “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, the official theme song for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, teamed up with Activia to give proceeds from the “La La La (Brazil 2014)” video to support the World Food Program. As of June 30th, the video had over one-hundred and seventy million YouTube views worldwide.
The South London pop/reggae/ska band, Scarlett’s Roses, is also giving to charity through sales of their unofficial World Cup song, “Roll On Rio.” The band will donate all returned royalty proceeds of sales of the single, available on iTunes for £0.79, to the Brazilian nonprofit organization ‘It’s a Penalty’, a charity working to stop the sexual exploitation of children in Brazil.
“We have chosen this charity,” Scarlett’s Roses drummer William Heryett told The Rio Times, “as we were seriously shocked that [the sexual exploitation of children] is such a prominent problem in Brazil. If we can help towards raising awareness, especially to our fans in the UK, then hopefully something will be done and soon stamp this out.”
Other unofficial songs for the World Cup include; Coca-Cola’s “The World Is Ours,” M&J’s “Summerdreams of Brasilia“, O Globo’s “Somos Um Só and songs that explore the more controversial side of the games including government spending on the tournament and FIFA’s revenue from the World Cup, including Pop Will Eat Itself’s, with current vocalist, British expat and Rio resident Mary Byker, “Reclaim the Game: Funk FIFA” featuring Brazilian rapper BNegão.
Botafogo Social Club resident DJ Tee Cardaci, who remixed the song, explained his decision to The Rio Times by saying; “I jumped at the opportunity to remix the Poppies anti-FIFA anthem because, like them, while I love the game, I loath FIFA and their system of living like kings on the backs of the tax payers of their host countries. While Brazil foots the bill for these stadiums, FIFA runs away with all the profit from ticket sales and international TV licensing.”
In addition to the official and unofficial songs, there all also parodies including Fusion TV’s Soccer Gods’ “Red, White & Blue: The Official Unofficial U.S. World Cup Song” featuring former USA soccer star Alexi Lalas, and odd, yet dance tributes like the viral hit, “Zinedine Zidane ft. Les Murray” by Vaudeville Smash.
Patriotic chants and cheers of the audience in the stadiums during matches and at viewing parties complete the list of music surrounding the World Cup and it will be up to history, personal tastes and experiences to determine what songs truly define this 2014 World Cup tournament.