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The first single, "Vampire," off Olivia Rodrigo's second album is officially out — and it's a rich text. So let's break it down like we're in high school English class.
Right off the bat, the video opens onto a scene of a moonlit lake at night:
Which, as one TikToker pointed out, might look familiar if you remember the closing shots of "Good 4 U" — which was also directed by Petra Collins:
Then we have the opening meadow sequence, which, unsurprisingly, appears to be a reference to the vampire flick Twilight. In fact, there's even a photo shoot of Bella and Edward in a meadow where the former is wearing a veeeery similar dress to Olivia's.
Olivia is then revealed to be on a stage that falls apart, drawing blood. One fan theorized that the light hitting her and giving her a "vampire bite" speaks to the underlying message of the song, which is how the music industry bled her dry.
The camera pans out to show that Olivia is performing at the ambiguous 19th Annual Awards. Given that Olivia was 19 when she wrote the song, some have speculated that the scene mimics how Olivia is required to perform even while things fall apart around her.
Later on in the video, Olivia is chased by the cops — but given the way it's filmed, a few people have theorized that it's actually depicting the paparazzi chasing her.
Before we get into the lyrics, let's look at what Olivia has said about writing the song. "I wrote this song on the piano, super chill, in December of last year," she told Zane Lowe in a new interview. "We wanted to do a song which crescendoed the entire time and reflects pent-up anger that you have."
On social media, Olivia wrote, "writing this song helped me sort through lots of feelings of regret, anger, and heartache. it’s one of my favorite songs on the album and it felt very cathartic to finish. im so happy it’s in your hands now and I hope it helps u deal with any bloodsuckers in your life. all my thanks 4ever."
vampire song and video out now🧛🏼. I made it with my very talented wonderful friend @TheDanielNigro last winter and created the video with the incredible Petra Collins. writing this song helped me sort through lots of feelings of regret, anger, and heartache. it’s one of my… pic.twitter.com/uQx80fjbMJ
— Olivia Rodrigo (@oliviarodrigo) June 30, 2023
Olivia Rodrigo / Via Twitter: @oliviarodrigo
Some lyrics speak to a relationship with an older man whom Olivia dubs a "bloodsucker" and "fame fucker": "I used to think I was smart / But you made me look so naive" and "Went for me and not her / 'Cause girls your age know better."
That's not even getting into the fact that the song is called "Vampire" and, you know, vampires are old. A specific relationship is further evoked with the line, "Six months of torture you sold as some forbidden paradise."
Some have suggested that the song is about Olivia's ex, producer Adam Faze, as the release of the song marks two years to the day since the couple had their first public outing — when Olivia was 18 and Adam was 24. Her next relationship was with music executive Zack Bia, who reportedly dated her when he was 26 and she was 19. The two apparently split in August of last year.
Regardless of the specifics of Olivia's love life, wider themes of being a young woman in the music industry are undoubtedly present:
what’s so clever about #vampire is i think it’s meant to seem like it’s against a PERSON, but it also has this larger theme of struggling against everything that she goes through in the industry as a young female pop star
— vaish JAZ DAY (@bareylena) June 30, 2023
vampire being about how her parasitic older ex preyed on her youth and vulnerability in order to obtain fame but also about how the music industry and media mistreated her as an emerging young female artist…art pic.twitter.com/QMCcj7TJ6C
— hailey🩸 (@nobodynoswift) June 30, 2023
UMG / Via Twitter: @nobodynoswift