Months after Olivia Rodrigo drove away with the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, thanks to her massive hit, “Drivers License,” the singer/actress is back with the highly-anticipated follow-up. Would “Deja Vu” — out today (Apr. 1) – be another somber ballad that showed off her songwriting talents? Or would it be an upbeat bop? When the song finally dropped, listeners were greeted by another heartbreaking song about love lost, an ex dating a girl who shares a lot with Olivia, including being an actress and loving Billy Joel. Is he having “déjà vu?”
You can feel the utter pain in Olivia’s voice as she sings about her ex moving on with someone so similar to herself. “Was I just your type?” a somber Olivia realizes, listing off all the things “we used to do” — that this guy is now doing with his new girl. “Strawberry ice cream, in Malibu / Don’t even act like we didn’t do that sh*t too / You’re trading jackets like we used to do / Play the piano but she doesn’t know / That I was the one that taught you Billy Joel / A different girl but there’s nothing new / I know you get déjà vu”.
Fans first knew something was up when Olivia wiped her Instagram account clean before sharing a series of silent videos featuring an old-school television. Olivia couldn’t keep the secret to herself, and she shared what appears to be the cover art of her new single. “my new song deja vu is out Thursday at 9am pst,” she captioned the collage of multiple Olivias. “I promise it’s not an April fools joke lol.” The news was greeted with joy by her fans. “Just emailed my boss to get the day off,” commented Alexander23. Actress Caitlin Carmichael was amazed at the artwork, exclaiming, “OMG OLIVIA WITH BANGS OLIVIA WITH BANGS.” The remaining comments were variations on a theme: “WOOOO,” “Ahhhhhh !!” and “THE COOLEST.”
Olivia hopes that she experiences some déjà vu when it comes to commercial success. “Drivers License” came out of nowhere to become the first major hit of 2021, debuting at the top of Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music song charts. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for eight weeks. It also reached No. 1 in 48 countries on Apple Music, 31 countries on Spotify, and 14 countries on YouTube, per The New York Times. It’s the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on Spotify. The RIAA has already certified that the song has gone platinum twice, and it’s only been out for three months.
The question is – can that success be replicated at all? There was “a ton of X-factor that made this the perfect storm” for Rodrigo, said Jeremy Elrich, co-head of music for Spotify. Her label, Geffen Records, prepped a successful marketing plan. The rumored behind-the-scenes drama of the song – that it was about her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter, though Olivia and Sabrina have both downplayed this speculation – helped its performance. It even got a ringing endorsement by another person who has spun behind-the-scenes drama into Billboard gold: Taylor Swift.
“I say that’s my baby, and I’m really proud,” Taylor commented on Olivia’s Instagram picture showing “Drivers License” at No. 3 on the iTunes chart, right below two Evermore bonus tracks. Olivia told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that she’s the “biggest Swiftie in the whole world,” per Billboard, and this comment made her lose her mind. “I’ve never met her in person, but I posted a cover of one of her songs off of Lover, ‘Cruel Summer,’ like a weirdo, and I did it on Instagram Live, and she found it, and she posted it on her story and was like, ‘This is amazing. Thank you so much,’ And I screamed my head off, I was so excited.”
Speaking of experiencing the same thing all over again, Olivia is planning to throw a listening party when Taylor drops her re-recording of her landmark album, Fearless. “It’s gonna be incredible,” she told Capital FM, per Billboard. “I just think that she’s such a great artist, and it’s actually such a blessing in disguise that she, you know, unfortunately, cannot get her masters back and has to re-record them… it’s such a silver lining that we get all these other amazing songs. So, I’m so excited!”
When asked how she felt about Taylor being a fan of her, Olivia responded with gratitude. “I feel really lucky to be in an industry at such a young age where I get to walk through so many of the doors that she’s opened. [I’m] really, really lucky to have her as a mentor.”