Pitbull’s singles, to date, have all been along the same series of themes—partying, sex, drinking, partying, clubbing, sex and partying. “Getting real” has never exactly been an action item on the Armando Christian Pérez agenda. But get real he does on new cut “Castle Made of Sand,” featuring the suddenly hip again Kelly Rowland (what is this, 2002?) and new signee Jamie Drastik helping Mr. 305 to wax contemplative about his upbringing and his absent father.
Produced by DJ Frank-E, mastermind behind the beat of Miami countryman Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” the song far more closely echoes another of Frank-E’s more successful ventures—B.o.B. and Hayley Williams’ smash crossover “Airplanes,” another ballad of introspection laid over a beat built on a shuffling drum loop and some dolorous piano. Where “Airplanes” always teetered on the brink of over-emotive cheese, “Castle Made of Sand” flops over into it by the time of its first chorus declaration of “So you try to believe in the castle made of sand / When it falls to the sea and your feet can’t find dry land.” In fact, talking about sandcastles in any pop context (besides how much fun they are to build, anyway) is fairly unforgivable, as further proven by Pitbull’s “Thank you Mama for making me a man / Let a motherfucker knock down my castle made of sand” couplet, or Drastik’s challenge for someone to “Put me on the beach with a bucket and a pail.” At least comparing airplanes in the night sky to shooting stars was fairly uncharted territory in the field of lame dreamer metaphors.
“It shows another side of me. But yet it has that big pop rhythmic feel to it,” Pitbull explained to EW.com about his new song. “I think that when that hits the radio, people are going to look at me in a whole different light.” It’s possible—we wouldn’t have expected Eminem to find such success with his own over-dramatic mid-tempo ballad, either. More likely, though, we think people will want to hand Pibtull a couple shots of Patrón and get him back on the dance floor.