Season 2 of The Deuce not only has new faces, the theme song is now updated for the 1977 setting to feature more shots of the porn movie business, discos and other late-Seventies imagery. They are now accompanied by a brand new version of Elvis Costello’s “This Year’s Girl” made especially for the show. It combines Costello’s vocals from the original 1978 version with new vocals by Natalie Bergman from the band Wild Belle, to turn it into a decades-spanning duet with a faster beat.
“Elvis and his producer Sebastian Krys got hold of the original multitrack master tapes so that we could take the song apart and reconstruct it as a male/female duet,” Blake Leyh, the show’s music supervisor, tells Rolling Stone. “We tried quite a few different approaches to the duet, using different singers and different edits of the song. Sebastian had worked with Natalie before and suggested her as someone who could hold her own against Elvis’ original vocal, and when we combined their voices the idea worked.”
Costello explained in his 2016 book, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, that the song was “an answer song” to the Rolling Stones’ “Stupid Girl” and the lyrics can be brutal, especially as sung by Bergman. “You want her broken with her mouth wide open ’cause she’s this year’s girl,” which is one reason the song works for a show about the objectification of women. “My lyrics might have been tough on the girl, but, it was full of regret and a little sympathy,” Costello wrote. “While the Jagger-Richards song seemed to take delight in being heartless and cruel.”
Other songs in the Season 2 premiere include: Barry White’s “Let the Music Play” (Candy enters Club 366), Terry Weiss’ “Hold On” (Frankie moving through Show World), Talking Heads’ “Don’t Worry About the Government” (on the radio at Vincent and Abby’s apartment), Funkadelic’s “Cosmic Slop” (the pimps at the shoeshine stand), Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner” (playing on a boom box in the editing suite), Bill Wright’s “You’re the Only Thing I’ve Got Going For Me” (cops and pimps eating at Leon’s), LMS’ “Magia De Tu Amor” (Vincent talking to a bookie about Frankie), Lloyd Williams’ “Black Man’s Train” (the Hi-Hat preps for opening), Television’s “Prove It” (on the Hi-Hat jukebox), Them Two’s “Am I A Good Man” (Vincent eats at Leon’s), Zeuss’ “Take a Ride” (Darlene and Abby talk at the Hi-Hat), Giorgio Moroder’s “From Here to Eternity” (Vincent visits Paul’s bar), The Damned’s “New Rose” (the punk band performing at the Hi-Hat), Gentle’s “Bionic Lover” (Paul and Kenneth make plans), Brick’s “Dazz” (playing at Club 366), Rhythm Heritage’s “Theme From S.W.A.T.” (at 366), Ray Sommers Orhcestra’s “All My Life” (at 366), Just Water’s “The Devil Woman” (Tommy takes Vincent to Hodas’ peep show) and New Dawn’s “Dark Thoughts” (Vince and Abby back home again).