Home Read Albums Of The Week: Elvis Costello & The Attractions | Spanish Model

Albums Of The Week: Elvis Costello & The Attractions | Spanish Model

¡Ay, caramba! Costello turns his sophomore album into Latin karaoke — and it works!

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 2018, Elvis Costello had a dream where he heard his entire This Year’s Model album performed in Spanish. He reached out to frequent collaborator Sebastian Krys — the Argentinian-born, Latin Grammy-winning Producer of the Year — and it wasn’t long before the two were recruiting some of the biggest Latin rock and pop artists from around the globe to interpret these songs in Spanish, backed by Costello and The Attractions’ original performances, for the daring, first-of-its-kind record Spanish Model.

As Costello and Krys began to think of artists that would be a good fit, they discovered that This Year’s Model was an important record to many artists in the pan-Latin world, but its true nature had never been fully appreciated because of the language barrier. They enlisted many Costello fans, a few who Krys and Costello felt would be a great fit for the songs and all of whom have stellar careers and were excited to participate and bring their own styles to the immediacy and poignancy of the original songs, helping to create an entirely new listening experience.

Spanish Model features such artists as: Cami, Draco Rosa, Fito Páez, Francisca Valenzuela & Luis Humberto Navejas (lead singer of Enjambre), Gian Marco & Nicole Zignago, Jesse & Joy, Jorge Drexler, Juanes, La Marisoul, Luis Fonsi, Morat, Nina Diaz, Pablo López, Raquel Sofía & Fuego, Sebastián Yatra, and Vega. They sing these timeless and universal songs, which have been expertly translated and adapted into Spanish to retain their meaning, energy, attitude, and wit.

The concept represents what may be a first: an artist replacing their vocals with newly recorded performances by other artists singing in another language, backed by the original music with 19 featured artists representing 10 countries and territories across the Spanish-speaking world including: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, plus several from the United States. The album includes 16 tracks drawing from the original U.S. version of This Year’s Model (Pump It Up, Radio Radio, This Year’s Girl, The Beat) plus several other songs from those sessions.

Since releasing My Aim Is True in 1977, the always musically curious Costello has allowed himself to follow his artistic desires wherever it takes him, often into unpredictable yet exciting territory. Across more than four decades, the iconoclast has reveled in exploring the human condition through a wildly diverse catalog that includes collaborations with Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint, Paul McCartney, T Bone Burnett, Brodsky Quartet, Spinal Tap, Anne Sofie von Otter, The Roots and his wife Diana Krall, along with many others spanning a dizzying array of genres, from country and jazz to orchestral, pop, rock, experimental and beyond, all the while keeping his audiences on their toes. After winning a Grammy for Look Now, his 2018 album with The Imposters, Costello recently released a French-language EP, featuring French adaptations by Iggy Pop, Isabelle Adjani, Tshegue, Etta Somatis & AJUQ of songs from his acclaimed 2020 album Hey Clockface.

“Part of the fun of this project is its unexpected nature,” Costello said. “Although, I think people in my audience that have been paying attention are pretty much used to surprises by now.”

“When Elvis told me the idea,” Krys said, “it took me about 15 seconds to answer. I have been in so many situations where I was trying to turn Latin artists onto Elvis Costello’s music. The feedback I heard most often was ‘I love it. I wish I knew what he was saying.’ Spanish Model is an opportunity to turn an entire side of the world onto this great record and through these voices, get these ideas out. Lyrically, This Year’s Model is still relevant today, what the songs have to say and how they say it.”

Costello and Krys worked closely with all the artists and in some cases with several songwriters — including Elsten Torres, Ximena Muñoz, Luis Mitre, Andie Sandoval, and Vega — to adapt the lyrics so the Spanish versions would seamlessly capture each song. With the lyrics in place, each artist set out to record.

This Year’s Model is about desire and how that relates to love, fashion and to the male gaze towards women and control, especially in political control over us all,” Costello said. “I don’t think there’s anything that somebody in another language would not have encountered. Some of the lyrics might be a little obscure because I use peculiar English idioms, but I constantly fall in love with records in other languages in which I don’t even know one or two courtesy words. What you respond to is the humanity, the pride, the sorrow, the celebration.”

Ultimately, Spanish Model echoes the personal journey of celebrating influences and inspirations that Costello has embarked upon in countless creative ways over the years, whether taking him outside his comfort zone, expanding his musical repertoire or, as with this project, discovering something new altogether.”