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"Déjà Vu" is a song by American R&B singer-songwriter Beyoncé Knowles, featuring rapper artist Jay-Z. It was produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Knowles for her second solo album, B'Day. The song combines contemporary R&B and '70s funk and its varied instrumentation includes bass guitar, hi-hat, horns, and the Roland TR-808 drum machine. The song's title and lyrics refer to a woman being constantly reminded of a past lover.

The song was released as the album's lead single in July 2006. Although it was recognized as "Best Song" at the 2006 Music Of Black Origin Awards, "Déjà Vu" received mixed reviews from critics. The single entered the top ten on most charts, topping several of Billboard magazine's component charts and reaching number one in the United Kingdommarker. The single's music video displeased fans, thousands of whom petitioned for it to be re-shot, citing its sexual theme and Knowles' wardrobes, among other reasons.

Background and production

In 2005, American record producer Rodney Jerkins—who had previously worked with Knowles' former group Destiny's Child—and composer John Webb "came up with the concept of doing an old-school track, a throwback with real bass and horns", to which the song's title is partly attributed . Playing the bass guitar, Webb, with Jerkins, first recorded the bass sections, onto which the percussion, horns and vocals were layered. Production took place in Jerkins' New Jerseymarker-based studio, and Sony Music Studios in New York Citymarker.

Jerkins recorded a demo version of the song with vocals by American songwriter Makeba Riddick, who is credited as co-writer . They presented the demo to Knowles, who later approved of it. "Déjà Vu" also has lyrical contributions from songwriters Delisha Thomas and Keli Nicole Price, and Knowles' long-time boyfriend Jay-Z. He became involved at a late stage, when Knowles saw him trying to sing along to a recorded version of the track, and asked him to contribute. Jay-Z recorded rap verses for the song and hence appears as a featured guest.

Music and lyrics

"Déjà Vu" is a contemporary R&B song, performed in a moderate hip hop groove. The song is composed in the key of B♭ major with a time signature in common time. "Déjà Vu" is influenced by late-'70s funk elements, soul and hip hop genre. The music is largely based on live instrumentation, using the bass guitar, conga, hi-hat, and the horns. Knowles said in an interview: "When I recorded 'Déjà Vu' ... I knew that even before I started working on my album, I wanted to add live instruments to all of my songs. It's such a balance [of music on the song], it has live congas, live horns, live bass. It's still young, still new and fresh, but it has the old soul groove." A non-live instrument, the Roland TR-808 machine, provides the song's drum beat.

The lyrics of "Déjà Vu" are composed in the versepre-choruschorus form and feature two rap verses. It is hook-laden, similar in this respect to Knowles' 2003 single "Crazy in Love" from her debut album Dangerously in Love. The lyrics detail a woman being constantly reminded of a past lover.

The song opens with Knowles introducing the bass, hi-hat and Roland TR-808 by name. The sounds of the instruments blend as they are mentioned one after the other; the horns are only audible in the pre-chorus and hook sections, and a short section in the second rap. The bass guitar, which is the first instrument to enter, slides into the main two-bar ostinato. Following the repeated bass slides, Knowles introduces the hi-hat and the Roland TR-808. After she mentions Jay-Z, the bass glides up for a vibrato-rich fill, giving way to the first rap. Backgrounded with a repeating groove, Knowles starts the first verse. The pre-chorus follows, for which the bass changes to a more melodic tone "to play something more singing", in the words of Jon Jon Webb, the bass player on the track. The melody returns to the main groove during the repeated hook. This pattern repeats and leads to the second rap. The third pre-chorus "comes from Jerkins' idea to have the part changes on top, with Webb's main groove on the bottom". It is followed by the main pre-chorus, then the hook is repeated four times. The vocals stop and the instruments fill in the space. The hi-hat and Roland TR-808 also stop; the song ends with the plucked bass and blasts of horns.

Release

"Déjà Vu" was leaked to the internet on June 13, 2006. The following day, it was released to radio stations, four weeks after Knowles informed Columbia, her record label, that B'Day was completed. Over one month later, it was released to physical formats; the track was released as a CD single on July 31, 2006 in the United States. An enhanced CD was released on September 12, containing five tracks and an additional "Déjà Vu" multimedia track. In the United Kingdom, the digital download became available on August 7. A CD maxi and a 12" single was later released in August 21.

Knowles approached English production team Freemasons to remix "Déjà Vu". A club-oriented version was produced and appeared on the team's debut album, Shakedown, released in 2007. A maxi single, featuring the album version of the track and Freemasons club mix, was released on August 5 in Australia.

Critical reception

"Déjà Vu" fared to mixed reviews among critics. Bill Lamb of About.com said it lacked "a sense of true exhilaration". The international webzine Popmatters' Mike Joseph believed, however, that it was "fantastic to hear Beyonce singing her lungs out over a full-bodied groove featuring live instruments". Sasha Frere-jones of The New Yorker magazine deemed the lyrics a "perplexing view of memory", while Chris Richards of The Washington Post, characterized Knowles in "Déjà Vu" as a "love-dazed girlfriend". Spence D. of IGN, a multimedia news and reviews website, complimented Jerkins' bass-laden groove, saying that it brought the track to "perfection". Caroline Sullivan of the The Guardian complimented Knowles and Jay-Z: "Their duet on the magnificent ["]Déjà Vu["] is as feverish as pre-watershed pop gets, but even when Jay-Z is not physically present, he brings out something formidable in Beyoncé that evokes the young, feral Tina Turner."

Other reviewers have compared "Déjà Vu" to Knowles' 2003 single, "Crazy in Love", the lead single of her debut album. According to Gail Mitchell of Billboard magazine, the song is viewed by many as a sequel to "Crazy in Love". Jason King of the Vibe magazine deemed the song "cloned from the DNA of the raucous 'Crazy in Love'" while Thomas Inskeep of Stylus magazine referred to it as "'Crazy in Love' lite"; some reviewers, however, were negative to the parallels drawn between the two songs. Andy Kellman's review for Allmusic, an online music database, said it "had the audacity to not be as monstrous as 'Crazy in Love'", referring to the commercial success the latter had in 2003. The internet-based publication Pitchfork Media's writer Ryan Dombal claimed that "this time [Knowles] out-bolds the beat". Jody Rosen of the Entertainment Weekly magazine referred to "Déjà Vu" as an "oddly flat" choice of lead single.

"Déjà Vu" was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best R&B Song at the 2007 Grammy Awards, while the remix version was nominated for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. The song won at the 2006 MOBO Awards in the UK for Best Song. The following year, it was nominated for Best Collaboration, alongside Knowles' song "Upgrade U" featuring Jay-Z, at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards.

Chart performance

"Déjà Vu" appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, less than a month before its physical release. The single debuted at number forty-four, and peaked at number four. The track's Freemasons/M. Joshua remix topped the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, while the album version peaked at number eighteen on the same component chart. "Déjà Vu" also reached the top spot on the Billboard component charts Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, number nine on the Rhythmic Top 40 and number fourteen on the Top 40 Mainstream. On the Billboard 2007 year-ender, "Déjà Vu" reached at number seven on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart.

"Déjà Vu" reached the top ten in less than ten European countries. In the United Kingdom, the single has sold 29,365 units on its first week. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Knowles' second solo number-one single in the UK. The single has reached the top five in Ireland, Norway and Switzerland and entered the top ten in Belgium, Finland, Germany and Portugal. "Déjà Vu" has not reached the top ten across countries in the Oceania. The single peaked on the Australian Singles Chart at number twelve, and on the New Zealand Singles Chart at number fifteen. "Déjà Vu" is the ninety-eighth best-selling single in Australia in 2006.

Music video

The press deemed the themes between Knowles and Jay-Z' interactions are sexually suggestive. A petition by fans objected to "unacceptable interactions" between Knowles and Jay-Z in the music video.]]

The music video for "Déjà Vu" was filmed by British director Sophie Muller in New Orleans, Louisianamarker on June 21, 2006, with parts of the video shot at the Maple Leaf Barmarker in Carrollton, Louisianamarker. The footage features couture-inspired outfits, vigorous footwork and sexually-themed routines. "Déjà Vu" simultaneously premiered on July 12, 2006 on MTV's show Total Request Live (TRL), and Overdrive, MTV's broadband video channel. The music video reached the top spot on the TRL's countdown. It also topped the UK TV airplay chart in late July 2006. The music video was awarded Best Video at the 2006 MOBO Awards.

Reactions to the video were mixed. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine commented it is "more thematic and thought provoking than the videos for 'Baby Boy' and 'Naughty Girl'", Knowles' songs from her debut album, Dangerously in Love. Allhiphop.com's Eb Haynes described the video "visually fresh" and "couture motivated". A group of more than 2,000 of Knowles' fans petitioned for a re-shoot of the video, complaining of "a lack of theme, dizzying editing, over-the-top wardrobe choices" and the sexual theme depicted in the video, considering some scenes "'unacceptable interactions' [between Knowles and Jay-Z]". The petition characterized Knowles' dance moves as "erratic, confusing and alarming at times". A news article published by Hindustan Times reported that a particular scene in the video is suggestive of oral sex. Natalie Y. Moore of In These Times magazine echoed the latter's commentary, writing that the video showcases Knowles "strutting her sexuality", and that in Jay-Z's scenes it "looks as if any minute now she'll give him fellatio".

Formats and track listings

UK single


  1. "Déjà Vu" (Album Version) – 3:59
  2. "Déjà Vu" (Freemasons Radio Mix) – 3:15


Maxi Single


  1. "Déjà Vu" (Album Version) – 3:59
  2. "Déjà Vu" (Freemasons Radio Mix) – 3:15
  3. "Déjà Vu" (Freemasons Club Mix) – 8:05
  4. "Déjà Vu" (Maurice's Nusoul Mix) – 6:00
  5. "Déjà Vu" (Maurice's Nusoul Mixshow Mix) – 5:57


Credits and personnel

  • Vocals: Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z (rap)
  • Recording: Jeff Villanueva, Jim Caruana
    • Assisted by: Rob Kinelski, Jun Ishizeki
  • Mix engineers: Jason Goldstein, Rodney Jerkins, Knowles
  • All music: Jerkins
  • Bass: John Webb
  • Horns: Ronald Judge, Allen "Al Geez" Arthur, Aaron "Goody" Goode
    • Horns arrangement: Jerkins


Charts

US chart positions of "Déjà Vu" are based from Allmusic; worldwide positions are adopted from aCharts.us.

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Australia Top 40 Singles 12
Austrian Singles Chart 12
Belgian Singles Chart 8
Dutch Top 40 17
Finland Top 20 Singles 6
French Singles Chart 23
German Singles Chart 9
Irish Singles Chart 3
Italian Singles Chart 9
New Zealand Top 40 Singles 15
Norwegian Singles Chart 3
Portuguese Singles Chart 8
Romanian Singles Chart 10


Chart (2006) Peak
position
Swedish Singles Chart 11
Swiss Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Canadian Digital Singles 8
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 4
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 10


Chart procession and succession

References

  1. " iTunes Store - Beyoncé - Déjà Vu - single". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  2. " iTunes Store - Beyoncé - Déjà Vu - EP". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2009-09-05.



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