Sonrisa Salvaje

Reading a music magazine years ago, I came across a stray sentence that set me on an obsessive quest. An article casually mentioned that David Lee Roth had recorded a Spanish-language version of his album, Eat 'Em and Smile.

The name was Sonrisa Salvaje.

I'm not entirely sure what captivated me about this obscure piece of information, but I knew immediately that I had to find this album. Something about the idea of Van Halen's lead singer recording an entire album in Spanish fascinated me. How could it be anything other than brilliant?

My search lasted multiple years. The album was sold for a limited amount of time on LP and cassette and was now, unsurprisingly, out-of-print. I scoured used record stores near and far (it was worth it just for the reactions of the staff when I explained what I was looking for), searched the far corners of the Internet (there were fewer corners then), and perused eBay regularly. I never came close.

One day, I mentioned my unrealized dream to a friend who hung out in Internet neighborhoods I was afraid to  frequent. A few weeks passed and then one day, he handed me a flash drive with a huge smile on his face.

To this day, I still can't believe that such a thing exists, that I have a copy, and that it's just so deliriously good; over-the-top guitar matched by over-the-top David Lee Roth, singing songs like ¡Loco Del Calor! with unabashed gusto. The album has since been released on CD and MP3, which means my epic quest can be replicated in the time it takes to say Así Es La Vida.

There's nothing grand about Sonrisa Salvaje, but I have never heard anything like it. I find pleasure in its breathtaking absurdity.

We need more joy. Sometimes high standards and accepted definitions of quality keep us from enjoying a goofy summer movie, kitschy restaurant, or life-altering story written for a different age group.

Wherever you find joy, however out of favor the source, drink up every last ounce. Enjoy it for what it is. And by all means, share it with the rest of us.