Am I having déjà vu or did Olivia Rodrigo just drop another smash hit? The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series actress debuted her first single, “drivers license,” at the beginning of the year and it sky-rocketed to No. 1 on the charts. The song became Tiktok viral and even garnered a Saturday Night Live skit.
With one record-breaking song under her belt and a ton of pressure for another epic release, Rodrigo’s “deja vu” proves that she is not a one-hit wonder. The song expertly recounts the story of a lost love moving on and making similar memories with a new lover.
“I’m really obsessed with the concept of deja vu and I think it’s such a cool, psychedelic, awesome thing,” Rodrigo said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Sometimes when you break up with someone and watch them live the life they lived [with you] with another partner, that can be really frustrating. I think that’s a universal, relatable thing that happens.”
Both “deja vu” and “drivers license” are speculated to be about a failed romance with Rodrigo’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series screen partner, Joshua Bassett. With her songwriting, Rodrigo takes vivid pictures of their happy moments like “car rides to Malibu / Strawberry ice cream, one spoon for two” only to turn them into revelations about his new relationship: “so when you gonna tell her that we did that, too? / She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused.”
Rodrigo interlaces these memories with a melody that sounds like a psychedelic spin on a tune that you would hear on a Merry-Go-Round. She labels her ex-lover as unoriginal and claims he’s only unique because of the things she taught him: “I made the jokes you tell to her when she’s with you” and “play her piano, but she doesn’t know / that I was the one who taught you Billy Joel.”
In every single way, “deja vu” is the perfect follow-up to her first hit. It showcases a mastery of the Swiftian bridge, an understanding of grandiose production, and powerful and catchy storytelling: “Strawberry ice cream in Malibu / Don’t act like we didn’t do that shit, too!”
She is releasing her new, currently untitled, album on May 21, and all we can do is hope that it carries the same youthful energy and amalgamation of emotions her current songs thrive off of.