HOW ‘THIS YEAR’S MODEL’ GOT REBUILT IN SPANISH
Elvis Costello’s classic 1978 LP has new vocals, in a different language
IN 2018, Elvis Costello was asked by David Simon to remake “This Year’s Girl,” a highlight of his landmark 1978 LP, This Year’s Model, as a duet with singer Natalie Bergman, for Simon’s show The Deuce. “The curiosity of this was hearing how powerful the band sounded when you took my voice out,” Costello says. “There was so much going on, and somewhere along the line, I made this leap to ‘Let’s try to do this in Spanish.’ ”
The result is Spanish Model, helmed by Argentinean producer Sebastian Krys, a frequent E.C. collaborator, which takes the original Model tracks and adds new vocals by artists from around the Spanish-speaking world.
Juanes jumped on “Pump It Up.” Puerto Rican singer Louis Fonsi took a shot at “You Belong to Me.” Chilean pop artist Cami delivered a piercing version of “This Year’s Girl.” For the slow, incisive “Night Rally,” Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler got on the phone with Costello for some coaching — “He wanted to understand every idiom,” Costello says.
The results have helped Costello hear his old songs with new ears. “I didn’t realize they had tunes until I heard them sung by more melodious singers in another language,” he says. “I thought it was just me sneering.” He also points out another bonus of the project: “Now,” he says, “I’ve got 15 new friends.”