Déjà Vu

Album: Is This the Life We Really Want? (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • Roger Waters shines a light on greed during this sweeping orchestral acoustic ballad:

    The temple's in ruins
    The bankers get fat
    The buffalo's gone and the mountain top's flat
  • Waters also discusses the US election, which voted in the Republican Donald Trump.

    The trout in the streams are all hermaphrodites
    You lean to the left but you walk to the right
    And it feels like déjà vu


    This represents a familiar lyrical device of Waters, anthropomorphising animals to represent aspects of human behaviour. Interestingly, the song has a similar acoustic riff to that of the Animals track "Pigs On The Wing."
  • Producer Nigel Godrich removed two verses from the song on the final cut to make the record fit the run time of 54 minutes. Waters recalled to Uncut:

    "Half of the song is on the record. Half of it is on the cutting room floor at the moment - it didn't fit Nigel's image of what this record was going to be like. So I've acquiesced to it not being on the record - I almost feel like saying 'Somewhat against my better judgement.' And it is. But so is a lot else. I'm not being disparaging. I think what Nigel has done in this record is really, really good."
  • The track was previously known as "Lay Down Jerusalem (If I Had Been God)" when played live before its official release. Waters recalled:

    "I always have a guitar with me, which goes to my hotel room wherever I am. I play it a bit, from time to time. Towards the end of The Wall tour, I wrote 'If I Had Been God - which is called Deja Vu on this record."
  • This was the song that made Waters realize he wanted to record a whole album. He explained:

    "I think when I'd written 'If I Had Been God,' I realized that there was something I definitely wanted to put out. I think it's a question maybe all human beings might do well to ask themselves if you had any part at all, how would you do things differently?

    From that, I thought, maybe there's more to this than meets the eye. Originally the album started out as a long radio play with some old songs, quite a few new songs, about an old Irish bloke and his grandson going off on a global quest to find an answer to the question, why are we killing the children?"

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