Enrique Iglesias doesn't strike us as the type of dude who'd coordinate his outfit (a slim-fitting, three-quarter sleeve baseball t-shirt, and designer jeans) to match his fully loaded, cherry-red Jeep Wrangler.
Then again, we're not the advertising division at Chrysler.
Earlier this month, the auto giant tapped Iglesias and tourmate Jennifer Lopez for a collaborative spot, pushing the carmaker's impressive fleet of stylish American-built vehicles "imported from Detroit."
Under the influence of his passionate Latin gaze and the magic of a few quick edits, we could hardly resist our deep desire to test drive a Jeep. For 31 beautiful seconds, Enrique's eyes peered deep into our soul and tickled that part of the brain that says, I need a new car.
Bad credit and a mountain debt, however, snapped us out of it. And soon, it was back to mundane reality. Just us and a few Enrique Iglesias albums to get through life in a rusted hoopty.
This is Crossfade's Essential Enrique Iglesias.
Enrique Iglesias, 1995
While some folks were swooning over Radiohead's sophomore effort, The Bends, it was Iglesias' timeless ballads on his self-titled debut that looped in our tape deck.
Coincidentally, it was the only record our parents listened to on the way to and from school; we were nine at the time it came out and hadn't even heard of Thom Yorke yet.
While we experienced little, if any, emotional connection to Iglesias' deeply personal collection of songs about women he'd loved, hurt, and would love again in his lifetime, the record's not a bad listen if you're trying to pick up an unmarried, 36-year-old school teacher in Hialeah.
Iglesias dove into the American market and a created more splash than "Ham" Porter's cannonball in The Sandlot.
El tipo came bearing gifts, a brief lesson in Spanish and a cross-over hit that had middle America screaming "Bailamos!"
The infectious three and a half-minute ditty topped the Billboard 100 for two consecutive weeks and set the tempo for Iglesias' career. He followed the bilingual "Bailamos" with "Rhythm Divine," yet another chart topper, only this time on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks.
Tack on three more singles and a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, and Enrique's already a superstar by the time everyone in the country's balling their eyes out during "Hero" in 2011.
Life changed dramatically after the attacks on September 11, 2001. A lot of brave men and women--some still with us, some not--became heroes that day, and certain songs became symbolic anthems. "Hero" was one of them.
Frankly, we've never listened to the rest of the album. Like many Americans, we promised to "never forget." And "Hero" serves as a constant reminder that terrorists suck and America will always prevail.
Fuck off, al-Qaeda.
Insomniac's far from Enrique's best record. In fact, it's widely considered one his worst.
But that's precisely why we think it's an essential component of any Iglesias collection.
We see Insomnia as a metaphor for life; it's not always pretty and mistakes are inevitable.
It was a bad album, so what? Sometimes you write a hit, and other times you overreach for metaphors. Not every batch of lemonade taste like optimism; there're always going to be sour grapes.
"Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)," digital download, 2010
After nearly 20 years in the business, Enrique finally grabbed America by the waist and opened up about his intentions on 2010's biggest party anthem.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"Here's the situation... You know my motivation/ Given my reputation/ Please excuse I don't mean to be rude/ But tonight I'm fucking you."
Is it weird that we really, really, really wanna test drive a Jeep right now?
Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias. Friday, August 31, and Saturday, September 1. American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $19.50 to $199.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 786-777-1000 or visit aaarena.com.