Now Reading: Olivia Rodrigo’s “dejavu” & Julia Michaels’ “All Your Exes” are Different Sides of the Same Coin


Olivia Rodrigo’s “dejavu” & Julia Michaels’ “All Your Exes” are Different Sides of the Same Coin

May 3, 20215 min read

Olivia Rodrigo is one of the boldest voices of generation-z. Her “drivers license” song rocked airwaves and has the world  anticipating her upcoming debut album. “deja vu” is the second installment in this story. This time, Olivia is scrutinizing her ex’s new relationship.

“Car rides to Malibu,” Olivia sings, planting listeners back in the car. She shares little details about the relationship that no longer belong to her — ice cream flavors, inside jokes and their show. She speculates, “I bet she’s braggin’ to all her friends, sayin’ you’re so unique, hmm.”

The entire track revolves around the feeling that nothing in her significant other’s new relationship is new. “So when you gonna tell her that we did that, too?/She thinks it’s special, but it’s all reused,” Olivia croons. Her voice takes on a more biting tone in the chorus, “Do you get déjà vu when she’s with you?” She frames some of the lines as an attack on both the ex and the new girlfriend, but there’s also pain as she reflects on their experience together, while she is trying to process the fact their dynamic may not have been so idiosyncratic after all, “Do you call her, almost say my name?… I hate to think that I was just your type.” It’s also arguably the 2021 version of Cher Lloyd’s 2012 “Want U Back” song, “Remember all the things that you and I did first?/And now you’re doing them with her…” 

Julia Michaels makes an interesting style of pop music, often erring on the side of melancholy. Her song, “If The World Was Ending,” (which was made with her boyfriend, ironically enough) launched her further into international acclaim, setting her up for the drop of her new album “Not In Chronological Order.” One of the singles from this project is “All Your Exes,” which was released around the same time of “deja vu.” This song is the other side to Olivia’s story.

The beginning of the track sounds like the usual music found in Julia’s catalogue, but it shifts into something rocky, raw and vicious. She knows her significant other could be remembering something from a previous relationship — she’s not oblivious — and that’s what drives her mad, “Wish I could be blissfully unaware/Of where you used to put your mouth/And who you write your f***ing songs about…” 

Julia is desperate for there to be no possibility that memories are being dredged up, no ability for someone to knowingly judge her for thinking she’s unique, no chance of déjà vu, “I wanna live in a world where all your exes are dead/I wanna kill all the memories that you save in your head…Like you were waiting for me to be the first thing you fall for…Please don’t tell me if I accidentally stumble/Into something that reminds you of her…”

“In the past I’ve definitely been a bitter lemon when it came to love, but all of that has changed.  Now that I’m in a healthy relationship I’ve redirected that angst from my ex to my current partner’s exes. I hope fans will appreciate the dark humor of the song. It’s about being so obnoxiously in love that it’s actually painful to think about that person having been with anyone else- like how is that even possible that you were with someone else before me?” Julia shared.


Both “deja vu” and “All Your Exes” center around the feeling of defensiveness surrounding entering and exiting a relationship. They excellently capture different forms of the same bitterness, sorrow and anxiety.


You can stream “All Your Exes” and “deja vu” everywhere now.


Feature image: Julia image courtesy of Republic Records. Olivia image via PM Studio Co LTD

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Helen Ehrlich

Helen Ehrlich is a writer who enjoys politics, music, all things literary, activism and charity work. She lives in the United States, where she attends school. Email her at: [email protected]