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Sonrisa Salvaje

David Lee Roth

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Album Review

This seldom-heard oddity in heavy metal singer David Lee Roth's catalogue is a Spanish-language version of his first post-Van Halen solo effort, Eat 'Em & Smile. The original release was a call to arms for the divided camps of Van Halen fans, and for those who felt that replacing Roth with Sammy Hagar was little more than a cruel joke, Eat 'Em & Smile validated their position with a strong band of crack players, equal amounts of humor and serious rock, and the best songwriting of Roth's entire career. The record is the perfect follow-up to 1984 that Van Halen couldn't deliver themselves, certainly closer to the spirit of the original band than anything recorded with Hagar. Sonrisa Salvaje (Wild Smile) saves all of the Eat 'Em & Smile artwork and backing tracks, with Roth overdubbing translated lyrics; unfortunately, the mix is not perfect and Roth's voice sounds disconnected from the music, floating in a sterile space above the band. Also, the Spanish words don't always fit seamlessly, sometimes hanging awkwardly over the edges of musical passages (particularly in "La Calle Del Tabaco" (Tobacco Road), betraying the compositions' English language origins. Still, any fan of Diamond Dave will appreciate this novelty and the gung-ho spirit that fueled its conception. Roth ends Sonrisa Salvaje with a satisfied chuckle, suggesting that he's entirely pleased with himself, having laid down the gauntlet for bilingual metalheads worldwide.

Biography

Born: 10 October 1954 in Bloomington, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the eyes of countless hard rock fans, David Lee Roth is the prototypical frontman. With a flamboyant, larger than life stage presence and a party-hearty surfer dude persona (not to mention his acrobatic leaps, long mane of blond hair, and skintight spandex outfits), Roth was an integral part of Van Halen's meteoric rise to global dominance from 1978 through 1984. Born on October 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana, Roth was introduced to music at an early age, via his father's affinity for Al Jolson,...
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Sonrisa Salvaje, David Lee Roth
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