“deja vu”: A solid successor to “drivers license” 


Olivia Rodrigo has recently released her follow-up single “deja vu.” The song debuted at number one on both the Spotify Top 10 Global and U.S. song debuts chart.

Gaby Jones, Culture Editor

After the release of her record-breaking debut single, “drivers license,” Olivia Rodrigo has come out with a follow up single, “deja vu,” that takes on a different soundand begins to capture how her versatility will not come at the price of quality. 

Wildly different from her atmospheric ballad, “deja vu” is more up-tempo, and much more stylistiusing experimental instrumentation to create a more alternative, indie-pop sound. 

The song begins with a simple ice-cream truck-esque piano melody as Rodrigo pulls you in, describing all the details of relationship–driving to Malibu, eating ice cream, trading jackets, watching reruns of ‘Glee,’ etc.– but as you get to the end of the first verse you quickly find out she is not describing her own. Instead, she sings about all the things that her and an ex used to do, that are now being recycled with another person.  

Rodrigo speaks directly to an ex and asks at the chorus, “do you get déjà vu when she’s with you?”   

This second release has many smart production choices that really play into the cleverly written lyrics that continue a similar story or theme from her first release. Whether it was the eerie ice cream truck opener persisting over a song with ice cream lyrics, added harmonies over a line about singing in harmony, or a whispered “I love you” in between the second verse and pre chorus after the line, “I bet you even tell her how you love her in between the chorus and the verse” the song is playful in its approach to the semi-reminiscent, semi-bitter lyrical concept. 

When listening to thsong, I enjoy the pre chorus the most and anticipate it on every single listen. I enjoy it, not only for the melody, but also for the vocals that sit effortlessly on the track in this section.  

Lyrically, the bridges call back to the events from the verses display, again, how committed Rodrigo is to specificity. She states in an interview with Rolling Stone that some of the most on the nose-details that feel as if they come straight out of her own life, are sometimes completely fabricated. She expresses that her and her producer, Dan Nigro, created a world for the song to live in, but that it still derives from an honest place. 

Thankfullythe song does a 180 regarding the sound. This change of pace might turn people away from this single completely, but it grows in replay value after the first few listens. Rodrigo states that it was more of a production-driven song, which is something she is not used to, but I would say she pulls it off.  

The instrumental is one of the things that makes it easy to repeat because it pushes through each time, building up and then comes back down with an interesting release characterized with what sounds like electric instruments and distorted drums 

deja vu” is an immersive follow up and satisfying introduction to the other facets of Rodrigo’s overall sound that has yet to be discoveredThe two songs combine to make for a great debut. Her untitled first album is arranged to release on May 21, and I am interested to hear what a full body of work sounds like from her.