I was in the car when I first listened to the song, and the first time she sang the hook “Do you get deja vu when she’s with you” I said out loud to absolutely no one around me, “Goddammit, that’s catchy.” It was like Nick Miller and Cotton Eye Joe. I was in my car alone, blaring the song, fist pumping. It’s just so damn catchy. Okay that’s not true.
However, what is true is that as I turned onto my friend’s street there was a teenage girl standing on the corner wearing all black, black jeans, black sweatshirt, black, beat up converse, even black hair, ready to ride a Onewheel (had to look up what it was called). She had the same intensity of Tory Nichols from Cobra Kai. As if she were wondering what the hell I was doing turning down her street. If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’d suggest watching cobra Kai especially if you love the karate kid. It’s like 15 hours in total for all three seasons. Worth the watch might be an over exaggeration but I enjoyed it. That’s my short endorsement of Cobra Kai.
Anyway, she was staring me down as if I had dishonored her family when I realized that my car stereo was probably pretty loud as I had switched over to listen to “deja vu,” and I realized she was probably wondering why this man in his late twenties was blaring Olivia Rodrigo. The look was probably more of confusion rather than anger, and I get it. I would’ve probably given me the same look in her situation. And that, my friends, is a true story.
Now I want to point out two of my favorite things about this song outside of its by-golly-that’s-a-catchy-tune hook.
First she brings up Billy Joel. Now, there is nothing wrong with Billy Joel. I just find it comical that two Gen Z kids could bond over something like Billy Joel’s music. I’m not sure why I just do. I respect Billy Joel. I have this thing where I definitely know what Billy Joel looks like but when I hear or read his name I automatically think of Billy Crystal instead of Billy Joel, and I love When Harry Met Sally, so I just kind of chuckle to myself. But his music (Billy Joel’s not Billy Crystal’s) is objectively good. On a personal note, he inspired one of my favorite musicians Andrew McMahon so I owe him that.
And of all songs, she mentions “Uptown Girl.” The song slaps in the whitest of ways. Even though it’s a weird song to say “I love you” to, but to each their own, I guess.
And secondly, she sings about “Strawberry ice cream in Malibu. Don’t act like we didn’t do that shit too.” Like even though she probably needs a wakeup call on what is considered special and unique between couples (getting strawberry ice cream in Malibu probably doesn’t make that list for most people living in the LA area), she makes a teenage relationship sound so mature and sophisticated through the emotion that is so apparent in her voice. The girl is what, 17? (Matt Gaetz, don’t get any ideas. Upon further investigation as I edit this, she is now 18. Still.) She can sing about a breakup with more passion and intensity than I could about anything. I definitely haven’t felt that hard about a relationship back then or now. But gee willikers, does she make me want to.
I kept this review light. I kept it positive. I know “deja vu” is not some transcendent piece of art that will change the world for the better, but I’m not in the business of breaking others down because of their art. I’m not in the business at all. I do this for fun. Some cynical asshole might argue that it’s not art to which I say life must be exhausting for you with that kind of thinking. I know because I used to be that kind of pretentious douchebag.
Furthermore (yeah I went there – I used furthermore), I have learned my lesson that society has apparently not yet learned, as some continue to do it, that we should not objectify a teenage girl who is in the public eye. I mean have we learned nothing from Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, or the countless other child stars?
So I’m going to let Olivia have this. She deserves it. The song’s a banger. I mean it’s not something I’ll always listen to. I only listened to it twice to write this review. Okay, it was four, no more than ten. Okay, I listened to it on repeat throughout the duration of my writing session and once more for good luck. And once more as I fell asleep. And first thing when I woke up. (The truth: I listened to it twice before writing this and once more before I edited it.)
My point is she has put out back to back breakup bangers. There are Gen Z girls (and maybe some boys) out there singing this song with tears, singing this song out of anger, and some even belting it with vindication. As I’ve talked about openly on here, I respect the hell out of Taylor Swift, and not that I’m saying Olivia is going to be the next Taylor, but these songs will hold the same importance and significance in some young girls life as Taylor’s songs did for my generation. I can totally get behind that.
Actually, to go back to how many times I listened to this song to write this review, I was listening to Car Seat Headrest when Patrick sent it to the group chat. Switching from that to Olivia was jarring but surprisingly made sense.
I didn’t think I had it in me to write 1,000+ words on Olivia Rodrigo's most recent single, but to sum it all up I will end with Ed’s response to the song: “Olivia you motherfucker, you’ve done it again!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
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