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deja vu

deja vu is the second single from Olivia Rodrigo’s debut studio album SOUR, and her follow–up release after the breakout success of her debut single drivers license. This song finds Olivia at a different stage than its predecessor, with her beginning to move on from heartbreak. Olivia questions both the authenticity of her ex’s new relationship, as well as their emotions for their new girl. She also portrays feelings of pity towards this new girl, who is not experiencing anything unique with her now–lover.

Despite sharing similar themes, deja vu is musically different from drivers license, with a more upbeat melody. It shows influences from Taylor Swift, both melodically and lyrically, especially in the bridge and outro. The music video shows Olivia spying on another woman–played by actress Talia Ryder–and emulating her life out of adoration, including wearing nearly identical clothing, traveling to the same locations, and copying her actions. Eventually, the woman makes it known that she was aware of Olivia’s stalkery the entire time, and taunts her, leaving Olivia enraged.

In the week preceding its release, Olivia cleared all of her posts on her Instagram account and began posting a series of cryptic videos, showing various clips on an analog television. Three of these teasers were shared before the official announcement of the song on March 29, 2021. The day before its release, Olivia posted an acoustic snippet of the song on TikTok.


Car rides to Malibu
Strawberry ice cream, one spoon for two
And tradin’ jackets
Laughin’ ’bout how small it looks on you
(Ha–ha–ha–ha, ha–ha–ha–ha–ha, ha–ha–ha–ha)
Watching reruns of Glee
Bein’ annoying, singin’ in harmony
I bet she’s braggin’ to all her friends, sayin’ you’re so unique, hmm

So when you gonna tell her that we did that, too?
She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused
That was our place, I found it first
I made the jokes you tell to her when she’s with you

Do you get déjà vu when she’s with you?
Do you get déjà vu? (Ah) Hmm
Do you get déjà vu, huh?

Do you call her, almost say my name?
‘Cause let’s be honest, we kinda do sound the same
Another actress
I hate to think that I was just your type
And I bet that she knows Billy Joel
‘Cause you played her “Uptown Girl”
You’re singin’ it together
Now I bet you even tell her how you love her
In between the chorus and the verse (Ooh; I love you)

So when you gonna tell her that we did that, too?
She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused
That was the show we talked about
Played you the songs she’s singing now when she’s with you

Do you get déjà vu when she’s with you?
Do you get déjà vu? (Oh–oh)
Do you get déjà vu?

Strawberry ice cream in Malibu
Don’t act like we didn’t do that shit, too
You’re tradin’ jackets like we used to do
(Yeah, everything is all reused)
Play her piano, but she doesn’t know (Oh, oh)
That I was the one who taught you Billy Joel (Oh)
A different girl now, but there’s nothing new

I know you get déjà vu
I know you get déjà vu
I know you get déjà vu

olivia on ‘deja vu’

I had this single picked out in September [2020] … so it sort of took the pressure off for me of following up drivers license since we planned this so far in advance. But it’s definitely not like drivers license at all, which I’m really happy about. I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into this category of “sad ballad girl” thing. It’s definitely a little different, and sort of weird. I really hope that people like it, and even if they don’t, that’s cool too though, because I loved making it.

I’m sort of obsessed with the concept of déjà vu, like I really love that concept. I get déjà vu all the time. So, I thought it would be a cool like play on words to kind of use déjà vu as a metaphor for like how, it’s a very universal thing that happens. You break up with someone, and they get with somebody else, and you kind of see them living the life you lived with them. […] It’s this super universal thing that happens to everyone that we just don’t talk about a ton.

I had this like line in my phone written for like a while “when she’s with you, do you get déjà vu?” I was in the studio with Dan, and we were trying to write like a sad song, but it just wasn’t coming. So he’s like “What else do you have?” and I was like “I have this like line written” and he really liked it. So we kind of wrote it together, and created this whole like world. I really love painting pictures with songs, so we’ve tried to be really vivid with the lyrics.

I’m very obsessed and weirded out with the idea of all relationships just being so recycled. ‘Cause I think I was just learning about relationships and love for the first time and I was like, “Wait, none of it is special, it happens over and over and over.”

When Dan and I wrote deja vu together, we really wanted to write a song that was really vivid and specific. And I think deja vu really acomplishes that, especially in the verses, it really paints a picture. And I think specificity and authenticity are my two favourite things that a song can have, I learned that from country music, I think. I think country music songs are always very specific and authentic, and I think that’s why they’re so heartbreaking sometimes. If I write a song and it doesn’t have those things, I generelly don’t really love it.

I, to be completely honest, didn’t want to put this song out after drivers license. I remember thinking it was a bad song, I didn’t like it and no one was going to like it. I remember calling my manager three or four days before we announced deja vu was coming out and being like, “Pull the plug, I don’t wanna do it, I can’t do it, I hate it.” I like the song now, but drivers license was obviously so well–received. The thought of coming out with another song, that was fairly scary. deja vu was a completely different song than drivers license, too, in every single way. There was so much drama that was around drivers license and so much hate, and I thought if I put this song out, then I was also playing into this drama love triangle “let’s hate on other girls” thing, and I just didn’t wanna do that. I never write any of my songs from that point of view ’cause that’s not something that I feel.

I remember for deja vu actually, there’s this post–chorus that was initially going to be this vocal chop, which I thought was so pop–y and not my thing. And I really wanted it to be that synth sound. Every time I listen to it, I’m like, ‘I’m glad that I stuck to my guns on that one.’

lyric video

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