This Year's Girl

Album: This Year's Model (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • Elvis Costello wrote "This Year's Girl" about the way men project their fantasies and expectations onto famous women. He sees celebrity as a trap whereby a girl gets pressured into trying to be as intelligent, glamorous and sexy as possible. "Everything in the song is about how the way men see woman and what they desire from them," Costello wrote in his autobiography, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink. "If there is a lie being told, then it is the one that a girl might be prepared to live or tell in order to live up to some false ideal of attraction."
  • When Costello released the song, the predominantly male rock critics accused him of hating women. "Read me the words of 'This Year's Girl' and tell me where it expresses hatred," he retorted to Mojo magazine in 2021. "It doesn't! Its expresses dismay at the ideas that the girl in the song has to subscribe to."
  • Costello wrote "This Year's Girl" as an "answer song" to the Rolling Stones' 1966 track, "Stupid Girl." "If you want to hear a song that's actually pretty indefensible, it's The Rolling Stones' 'Stupid Girl,' he said. "Read the lyric of that one and tell me which one is the misogynist, me or Mick! This year's girl is unashamedly modeled on 'Stupid Girl,' but I wanted to flip it."
  • HBO's The Deuce used "This Year's Girl" as the theme song for their season 2. It is a different version featuring an additional female vocal by Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle.
  • Costello recorded the song for his sophomore album, This Year's Model. The title references two of the tracks: "This Year's Girl" and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea," which contains a lyric about "last year's model." Both songs attack the sexploitation of women. "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.
  • Nick Lowe produced This Year's Model. The singer-songwriter helmed Elvis Costello's first five albums as well as several other new wave acts, including Wreckless Eric and Graham Parker.
  • In 2021 Elvis Costello released a completely Spanish edition of This Year's Model featuring a cast of some of the biggest Latin rock and pop artists. Several of the Spanish singers are women, including Chilean pop star Cami, who sings "La Chica de Hoy (This Year's Girl)." "I thought it was a really great opportunity to turn the songs on their head," Costello told Mojo.

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