I’m not going to sugar coat this. Toto’s “Africa” sucks. I don’t care how much it brings back hazy memories of sipping Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers while you rocked out in pastels, it’s a terrible song.
It’s a song written about a continent the white dudes in the band had never bothered to visit at the point when the song had been released. If that’s not peak caucasity, I don’t know what is.
I don’t really understand this resurgence of a terrible song that first charted in 1983. Especially because “Come On Eileen” came out the same year, and you don’t see anyone covering that (anymore, I still remember Save Ferris’s take on it in 1997)—perhaps everyone knows you can’t tweak perfection.
Which brings me to this: in 2018, because reality broke 2 years ago, there are competing covers of “Africa.” One is terrible, one is sort of good (if you squint), but you probably need to drink a few of those aforementioned wine coolers to get you to a state of enjoyment.
So which cover of “Africa” by Toto is superior?
First, here are the
offenders, sorry, contenders:
Pitbull, “Ocean to Ocean”
Put down your sweaters and Buddy Holly glasses, friends, because Mr. Worldwide takes the cake here, hands down.
First off, Weezer’s cover was just lazy. They added nothing new to a terrible song, and did a by-the-numbers rendition because of a Twitter campaign. Their cover simply goes through the motions. Also, Weezer hasn’t been good since Matt Sharp left.
You think people were clamoring for Pitbull to do a cover of “Africa”?! Absolutely not. He took it upon himself to sing a song inspired by Aquaman, set to the tune of “Africa” and then released it, straight-faced, into the world. Pitbull’s rendition is basically an ode to being a world-traveling mer-man who traverses the planet via its waterways, so screw his (the merman’s) haters! Please tell me what part of that doesn’t appeal to you?
The song starts with a spoken word intro, which is spectacular:
They tried to get rid of me But from ocean to ocean They gon’ have to deal with me
If that doesn’t give you Ron Swanson-drunk levels of glee, then you might be dead inside. Pitbull, a grown man whose nickname is Mr. Worldwide, managed to cobble together an entire song of nonsensical lyrics, set it to “Africa” and then thought it was good enough to be released…on the Aquaman soundtrack. There is nothing about that which isn’t amazing (and weird.)
Anyone trying to tell you Weezer’s boring, phoned-in take is better is not a friend to you, or anyone for that matter.
Pitbull’s take is far superior, because while it too is terrible, at least it’s sincerely terrible. Nothing half-a*sed about it.
Header Image Source: Getty