Olivia Rodrigo’s song “deja vu” was released last Thursday. Does she have the potential to become a household name? Despite dropping at the same time as Demi Lovato’s long-awaited album Dancing With The Devil: the Art of Starting Over and “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X, she was still able to create a buzz on social media...

 

and on the charts...

Like so many other members of Gen Z, I like Olivia a lot. Her authenticity, connection with her fans on TikTok, and ability to be vulnerable in her art is what draws me to her. It takes a lot of guts to write songs that come straight from the heart like that. She also presents as a super normal girl who could be friends with anyone, which seems to be the trend with celebrities that stick out the most to my age group. Something that makes celebs in our generation different is that they aren’t expected to be someone we want to be. Instead, it’s more like someone that we want to be friends with. So when I saw her get hyped with “drivers license”, I was kind of worried she would be known for that “one” song to the rest of the world. But Olivia’s ability to get this much buzz around “deja vu” shows that she wasn’t going to settle for 15 minutes of fame.

First of all, the song is great. I might even like it a little more than the first one which says a lot because I love the first one. Her voice is unique, which makes it easier to identify her. I’ve also found that the style of music my generation responds to is alternative-pop, which is a huge change from childhood hits like “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. I want to attribute that change to singers like Billie Eilish and Sabrina Claudio who have shown that you don’t have to have a strong belt in order to have a memorable voice. Olivia has that feathery voice that you hear in a lot of TikTok songs, but a power behind it that makes her stand out. This becomes even more important when you want to get on the radio because unless you sound distinctive, no one who doesn’t know who you are is gonna remember you. And it also goes with the visuals of her music video that was released the same day. 

 

 

This is pure Gen Z style, with nods to the aesthetic and old-school vibes coming back in our generation’s culture. We’re just trying to tap into the late 90’s and early 00’s vibes, and Olivia delivered. Fun fact: one of the shots in the music video resembles both a scene from icon Celine Dion’s “Falling into You”...

and a TikTok trend that’s going on right now...

@shvzrn

sama bunda💸

♬ Please Don't Go - Mike Posner
 

As for Olivia’s lyrics, for me, they’re the perfect balance between relatable and creative, like, “woah that’s EXACTLY how I feel but I just couldn’t put it into words, so I’m gonna keep listening to it over and over again because I’ve finally found what speaks to me.”

In the same breath, the theme in the new song almost acts as a continuation from “drivers license”. Cody wrote about speculation that her first hit was about her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (this title gets me everytime) co-star, Joshua Bassett. While “drivers license” had a sad undertone, this one is a more confident “I bet you still think about me when you’re with her” take on it (maybe that’s why I’m digging it a little more). Although it’s reported that Olivia wrote “deja vu” about a fictional situation, it created buzz, and that’s a big part of what she needed. If she saw that it worked so well with the first song, why not poke at it more for the second one? To top it all off, Joshua added more to the drama with a TikTok that some fans see as shade towards Olivia. That’s another thing about my generation: we love to feel included, so when this story broke, it definitely caused more talk on the socials where we live. With the bonus that the song is actually good. If it wasn’t that great, then it would look like she is playing into the drama a little too much and forgetting about the musicality, but I think she has the internet on her side...

The speed to getting another song out is also key to cracking the one-hit wonder curse. Instead of riding on her fame wave for too long, she hit the ground running. “Drivers license” is still all over the radio and charts, so releasing another song while she’s still in people’s mind is the best thing she could’ve done. We’ve seen many times where singers wait for too long and before they know it, someone else takes over and there’s no more momentum. With Olivia, she didn’t keep the people waiting because in these times, anyone can swoop in at any time if you’re not quick with it. 

 

That brings us to her announcing that her new album is dropping May 21st. She isn’t wasting any time here. What makes this even more fun for fans is that she hasn’t released a name, track list, or album art. All we know is that there are eleven tracks including “drivers license” and “deja vu”. 

Is she going to give out Easter eggs like Taylor Swift, or will she just reveal the whole thing on May 21st? Is she going to be releasing a surprise song from the album any time soon, or wait until May? When there are questions, the only place people can go for answers is her socials and with Gen Z always on the move to “crack the code”, this will only go well for her. I know I’m excited. 

There’s a lot of promise with Olivia. It’s refreshing to see a new face breaking out into the pop scene, but it’s difficult to stick around, no matter how much of a fan base you may already have. Does she have what it takes to get to the same levels as Taylor, Selena, and Demi?