Eighteen-year-old multiplatinum music star Olivia Rodrigo gives a shoutout to Long Island music legend Billy Joel in her new single, "Deja Vu."
In the upbeat ballad, released Thursday, the narrator excoriates an ex-boyfriend for doing the same things with his new partner that he used to do with her, such as "Car rides to Malibu / Strawberry ice cream, one spoon for two." Among the narrator's complaints are: "I bet that she knows Billy Joel / 'Cause you played her 'Uptown Girl' / You're singin' it together" — even though "I was the one / Who taught you Billy Joel."
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joel, 71, who was raised in Hicksville and has homes in Sag Harbor and Centre Island, has not commented publicly on the homage, the latest in a recent string that includes a viral TikTok video of people dancing to his 1978 song "Zanzibar," and an emphasis on his music in last year's second season of the Amazon Prime Video series "The Boys."
Listeners have speculated online that "Deja Vu" — produced and co-written by Massapequa Park-raised Dan Nigro, a member of the 2000s Long Island band As Tall As Lions — alludes to singer-actor Joshua Bassett, 20, whom former Disney Channel star Rodrigo is rumored to have dated. The two star in the Disney Plus series "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," scheduled to return May 14 for season 2.
Bassett has not commented publicly. In a TikTok video he posted the same day the song was released, he said with evident sarcasm, "I'm freaking out — I just found this out: Did you guys know that the world doesn't revolve around you? Isn't that crazy?"
In an interview with American Songwriter magazine also published April 1, Rodrigo explained, "I really like descriptive, narrative-based songwriting, so we tried to do that in the verses and paint pictures of all the specific things that you do in a relationship." She and Nigro began work on "Deja Vu" in autumn, she said, and noted that specific details in the song were often "completely made up."
"I thought it'd be interesting," she told the magazine, "to write a song … about how sometimes when somebody moves on in a relationship and they get with a new partner, you watch it and you're like, ‘Oh my gosh, that was all of the stuff that I did.' I think that's a really relatable, universal thing."
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Rodrigo scored a massive hit with her single "Drivers License" in January. It debuted at no. 1, went double-platinum the following month, and set a Spotify record for most streams of a song in a single week.