Released Thursday morning, the track, titled “Deja Vu,” details the suspicion that one’s ex-significant other is now doing everything that made a relationship special — with someone else. Rodrigo recounts these memories over a twinkling piano, with a storyteller’s specificity: “Car rides to Malibu / Strawberry ice cream / One spoon for two / And trading jackets / Laughing ’bout how small it looks on you.”
But the mood shifts when Rodrigo asks, “So when you gonna tell her that we did that, too? / She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused,” which all leads up to the song’s main question: “Do you get deja vu when she’s with you?”
A wall-of-sound consisting of fuzzy guitars and saturated drums breaks through following the pre-chorus, giving the song an alternative edge that sets it apart from the ballad-like nature of “Drivers License.” Its echoes of “I know you get deja vu” and smooth production by Dan Nigro beg for the song to be listened to in the car with the windows rolled down, in true break-up anthem fashion.
Rodrigo’s soaring vocals give the song’s biting lyrics a sweet kind of burn, perhaps expanding on the subject matter of “Drivers License.” “Do you call her, almost say my name / Cuz let’s be honest, we kind of do sound the same / Another actress / I hate to think that I was just your type,” Rodrigo sings, emphasizing her similarities to an ex’s new flame.
This is just one example of the several ways deja vu conceptually works its way into the song, completed by how its bridge mirrors the lyrical content of the first verse. Rodrigo says the notion served as a fun challenge for her when writing and trying out different melodic and instrumental ideas.
“The concept of deja vu has always fascinated me and I thought it would be cool to use it in a song around the complex feelings after a relationship ends,” Rodrigo says. “I started writing and recording ‘Deja Vu’ last fall and had so much fun creating the different melodies and sonic textures that you hear throughout.”
It remains to be seen if “Deja Vu” will mirror the insane success of “Drivers License,” which debuted at No. 1 across major streaming services and broke the Spotify record for the most single-day streams for a non-holiday song. The song also had the biggest weekly streaming debut for any song globally in Spotify’s history, and debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for eight consecutive weeks.
Stream “Deja Vu” here and watch the music video below.