No one ever likes the "official" World Cup song. Partly this is because pop songs written to please the whole world tend to turn out pretty badly. But it's also because we ball-obsessed humans need some activity to fill the heady days before the World Cup begins, and complaining about a song we're forced to hear on repeat sure beats workin'. This year's "official" song is "We Are One (Ole Ola)," a three-minute, forty-five second Frankenstein of club-thump braggadocio and inspiro-pop windbaggery that took an flabbergasting nine people to write and produce. Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez handle the main vocal duties, though there is a Brazilian singer, Claudia Leitte, thrown in at the end to head off the (deserved) complaints about a total lack of Brazilian-ness in this thing. (Of all the Americans to foist upon the world, whyyy did they have to choose Pitbull? And why even pick an American to celebrate a tournament held in a country with its own rich musical history?)
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. As usual there is a panoply of unofficial songs vying to fill the enthusiasm gap left by FIFA's official choice of an anthem. Some of these are World Cup-related solely by their title, or the vim of their fans. Here, we -- in the time-honored worldwide interest of filling time before Thursday's first game with self-righteous bitching -- will consider them anyway.
"Kick That Soccer Ball," USA Soccer Guy
Why we're considering it: Because it's on YouTube, honestly.
Strengths: No pretense, clear message, kinda catchy. Also it clearly doesn't take itself too seriously.
Weaknesses: It doesn't deserve to be taken very seriously. Also, there's a dubstep breakdown.
"La Copa De La Vida," Ricky Martin
Why we're considering it: This 1998 hit was the last great World Cup anthem, in our opinion. Also because Ricky Martin.
Strengths: Inspirational and catchy without being terribly annoying.
Weaknesses: Martin is from Puerto Rico, which is an American territory only marginally closer to Brazil than the U.S. mainland. So it's still not very Brazilian. Plus we're getting tired of rampant '90s nostalgia.
"Dare (La La La)," Shakira
Why we're considering it: Shakira released a World Cup-themed version of this previously non-soccer-themed single, so it's kind of unofficially official. Plus she's from Colombia, which is in the vicinity of Brazil, and there's at least token Brazilian drumming in this remix. Also Shakira did the World Cup song in 2010.
Strengths: It's vastly preferable to "We Are One," and the remix video is pretty intense.
Weaknesses: "La La La" fatigue is a real thing.
"We Are One (Ole Ola)," Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Claudia Leitte
Why we're considering it: It's the "official" song, so we kinda have to.
Strengths: Whatever bleach they used to clean Pitbull's suits.
Weaknesses: Everything else.