“Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran

All facts considered, Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits” was intentionally put into a romantic context, as pop singles tend to go. And based on such an understanding, whom Ed would be addressing is someone like a transient lover. Or put differently, it is a person whom he is hooking up with on a ‘late night’ type of basis, not a conventional partner. Or as the chorus puts it, said individual is “a stranger (he) barely knows”.

And comprehensively, the situation reads like the titular “bad habits” he is referring to led to the dissolution of the narrator’s relationship with his significant other. So he is not celebrating the fact that he has to prowl at midnight to save himself from evenings of loneliness. 

Instead, on one hand, he is lamenting the fact that his own actions put him into such a predicament in the first place. Or as the singer puts it, his ‘bad habits lead him to’ the addressee.  So it’s like the sentiment he’s putting forth is actually twofold. For on the other hand, he is able to at least celebrate the fact that he found someone special, or let’s say more to the stated point a person whose companionship he has become addicted to.

A Song place in a Romantic Context

Now the reason we started off by noting that this song was put into a romantic context because, as the story goes, what actually inspired Ed Sheeran to conceptualize it was giving birth to first child in 2020. 

In other words, when Ed first learned that he was about to become a dad, he instantly went about resolving what he perceived as his personal bad habits. And no, the lyrics of this song do not appear to have any direct connection to such an origin story.

But again we have come across a number of love tracks like this throughout the years, i.e. ones that are originally based on ideas which have nothing to do with romance per se. And we’re confident that someone like Ed Sheeran knows what he’s doing, as early reviews of Bad Habits indicate that it features the musician returning to peak pop form

And ultimately the idea he actually ends up putting forth is one which is common in the modern world, i.e. a person finding himself settling in love, so to speak, after falling with a previous partner.

Lyrics to "Bad Habits" by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran comments on "Bad Habits"

Music Video

Dave Meyers directed the music video Bad Habits, which features Sheeran taking on the role of, according to Rolling Stone, “a glam vampire”.

Sheeran talks about "Bad Habits"

Release Date

It was formally released on 25th of June 2021. As of its release date, “Bad Habits” is recognized as the lead single from be Ed’s fourth studio album (=).

And you probably don’t need us to tell you that throughout the 2010s, with his first album, +, coming out in 2011, Sheeran has established himself as one of the most-successful musicians in the world. For instance, he closed out the decade by engaging in what was known as the ÷ Tour (2017-2019), which proved to be the most commercially-successful concert tour of all time. 

Also his last project, 2019’s No. 6 Collaborations Project, topped both the UK Singles Chart and Billboard 200, as is his standard as far as studio albums go.

Bad Habits

“Bad Habits” was issued by Asylum Records, whom Ed Sheeran signed with in 2011.

Credits for “Bad Habits”

Ed Sheeran, who often contributes to the writing and production of his songs, served both roles on this particular track. And the other co-writers/co-producers are Johnny McDaid and Fred Again.

The “=” Album

Multi-award-winning English songwriter and singer Ed Sheeran will release his long-awaited fourth solo studio album and fifth overall album, =, through Asylum Records and Atlantic Records, on October 29, 2021. is pronounced “Equals.”  

On August 19, 2021, Ed announced on all his social media accounts that the years of waiting for his next full studio album were over and that his next studio album will be due. He stated that Voyage is his personal record, in the sense that, on the album, he describes his life changes during the four years after his previous full studio album.

Ed stated that he had married, become a father, and experienced the loss of his beloved friend and mentor, Michael Gudinski, during those years. Therefore on = (Equals), he reflects on these major life changes and explores the realities of his career and human nature through his music. 

Alongside the album’s announcement, he also released its first promotional single, Visiting Hours, composed in memory of Michael Gudinski. The hit drill song Bad Habits is the lead single of the album. = (Equals), is also composed in line with his previous solo studio albums, Plus (+), Multiply (X), and Divide (÷). 

73 Responses

  1. Chad S says:

    I think the song is actually about drugs. The “You” is drugs. The people he barely knows are the buyers. That is why he says he has nothing to use.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the song is about drugs/drinking and sex.

    • Ed Sheeran says:

      its not about drugs a sex or drinking its just a song not like it show us doing drugs or drinking or sex at all so if you all know whats go for you shut up

      • Anonymous says:

        you need to chill out bud haha

      • Darius says:

        Oh hello Ed I did think it was about drug use but you’re the one who wrote it so I have to believe you very good song though I love your style I would love to know you ( not in a creepy way) but you are my kind of dude stay safe and congratulations on fatherhood we need people who write proper music in this age of the crappiest music in history

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree that this song sounds like it’s about drug use. I think being wide eyed staring off into space after having nothing left to use or do sounds like he’s high as kite and at the end of it all the drugs lead him to whomever he’s singing to.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think this song is about drugs, but I really related to it through mental illness, where “you” is the mental illness, bipolar in my case. Every time a manic episode starts, you feel so good and pretty much invite it in, and before long you’ve gone too far

    • Anonymous says:

      I can relate to the song in the mental illness way, the drug addition way, and the obsessive love way. Obsessive love is addictive, right? I think its meant to relate to millions of people, for multiple reasons relating to “addiction” in many forms. Addiction isn’t just drugs

  5. Me says:

    Your interpretation is strange….I think it’s all about drugs.

  6. Craig says:

    Glad everyone else thinks it’s about to drugs, me too! 🎵 every time you come around i can’t say no, every time then sun goes down I let you take control🎵

    • Bringer of facts says:

      It’s not just about drugs. It’s specifically about cocain.

      “You know I lose control of the things that I say”?? Come on.

      The “you” is cocain.

      “We took the long way ’round
      Burned ’til the fun ran out”??

      Anyone that’s walked home at 6am feeling like shit, wondering why the fuck they did that, and wishing they’d just gone home at 2am knows exactly what that lyric means!

      Anyone that DOESNT think this song is about cocain has led a pure and wonderful existence. I commend you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I believe the song is about internet porn and chat rooms. He has an addiction to both and tries to fight the temptation of logging back on and chatting with and having sex with a stranger be barely knows.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This song is most definitely about drugs and/or drinking. “I can feel the paradise before my world implodes” is a direct comparison to the feeling of drugs/alcohol entering your blood stream and producing a euphoric effect.

    “I only know how to go too far?” This one is like a personal attack as a former alcohol abuser

    And its damn true that nothing good happens after 2. By then I’d be so drunk i would fall over myself and most likely break something 😛 So yeah this song is mostly definitely about drugs and drinking

  9. Lastina says:

    I think this is a kind of song that can mean different for each one because we all have some bad habits 🙂

    • Flo says:

      Yeah true ! I was looking for a comment like yours lmao, everybody’s talking about sex and drugs while I was thinking about alcohol or abuse of social media.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s about drugs, when he says good intensions ends when the fun starts, simple example, people take medication to help them sleep, to help them with pain, but then they get adicted and take it for fun, not for good intensions anymore.

  11. Chris T says:

    To me it sounds like it’s about drug use and drinking (“wide-eyed staring in space”) on nights out, which he gets too messed up on and then ends up alone (“nothing happens after 2, it’s true”). He knows every time where it will end up because they’re his bad habits, it’s the same every time.

    He does also mention “Fallin’ over everything to reach the first-time spark” suggesting he’s actively going out to try and cheat or at least sleep with someone to get a buzz. Again, I think it’s more of the combination of always doing things he knows he shouldn’t but he’s addicted and will keep doing it.

    The “you” I think is just the addicted (“Yeah, I was lookin’ for a way out, now I can’t escape “), uncontrollable, and then regretful version of himself. The side of him that builds up the anticipation of getting wasted and making bad choices. (“Every time the sun goes down I let you take control”). I think it’s why he’s dressed as the joker in the video – it’s his dark personality that is impulsive and wreckless.

    However, he knows this side of him makes him less happy, alone, unable to hold down relationships and reliant on temporary fixes to feel, what are ultimately, only temporary bursts of “paradise”.

  12. Nefetit2 says:

    I think its about HIM he is all alone and cant sleep , so he stares to the sky with eyes wide open since no sleep, so he starts drinking again or doing drugs “again” since bad habits coming back again. Or he is lonely ,bored, restless and sleepless maybe he has a thing for escorts of either sides and he goes out talk to strangers try to meet regular people do drugs (bad habits ) and ends up buying an escort (leads to you)

  13. Geremy sweedle 😁👊 says:

    I believe the song is about cocaine addiction as in the U.K. it’s an epidemic with many of the people I know falling prey to the drug!
    The song talks about wide eyes and not controlling the things that you say plus talking to strangers all night which is definitely something you’d do on cocaine. I think the bad habits lead to his dealer once he’s run out of coke!

  14. Ed Sheeran says:

    It’s actually about biting my nails and dying my hair ginger

  15. Anonymous says:

    I understand what the song is about now, but what about the album cover? What does the vampire represent? Or any of it really, like why does it show two black looking eyes?

  16. Chaos says:

    I think this song is about addiction , even emotional addiction to someone you cannot leave without .an unhealthy addiction but even if you try to come out of your feelings you can’t leaving you in guilt and depression(eyes wide open staring ) . And the cycle continues . So according to me the ‘you’ can be someone or something which is very close to you and is addictive. ( love/drugs
    /feelings/emotions) .

  17. John Doe says:

    I honestly think this song is about drugs. Agreeing with everyone that has said that. When I think of “wide eyes staring at space”, makes me think of coke. I could totally be wrong, but just my own opinion.

  18. Ed Sheerdan says:

    It’s about my addiction to bumming!

  19. Deep thinker says:

    To me it sounds like he has realised that his lover, leads him to doing bad things, like going out and using it and loosing it all because she has messed his head up.
    And now he realizes that his bad habits are there because of her actions, he just doesn’t care anymore because she drives him to bad habits. It’s the way she treats him.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s about coc**ne. Obviously. Nothing happens after 2!! Lol, it’s the time you set and force yourself to go home!!

  21. DUCHESS OF MARWOOD says:

    I thought was about addiction to lots of things we are can get addicted too .. some you pay for and some you don’t .. still same addiction, its at number 1 cause we love it we all relate to the song because it makes you feel happy and can think the same way. or touches you in some way .. powerful song like lots of other songs at Number 1 for weeks , Bohemian rhapsody i think Angels by Robbie williams … slade i think with merry xmas i will have to look at all number 1’s for weeks in the top 40 !! TOTP with jimmy saville! and how i thought he was great! i did send letter for jim to fix it for me! so glad i did not get a reply i remember Freddie Mercury like yesterday please add number 1s for more than 4 weeks!

  22. Anonymous says:

    In the video, People are feeling invulnerable so they do insane acrobats and backflips only to get crumpled on teh floor (heroin addicts nodding off) or dead (OD). Some feel like they’re flying (Ed, himself). These may be the early user who we see at teh beginning, apparently enjoying themselves, not doing insanely risky things.

    When the party breaks up, the bodies piling up, Ed wipes some makeup off, the sun comes up, Ed is looking respectable again, perhaps ready for the work week as a high-functioning drug addict as others hide in shadows, unable to join the everyday world anymore and one, perhaps having nodded off, finally succumb to their addictions and crumble to dust under the harsh sunlight of reality.

    “Fallin’ over everything to reach the first-time spark” sounds like the first high, not first love. First sex is often awkward and exploratory. The best sex you ever have is rarely the first (except one-nights stands, of course.) It’s drugs, not sex.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t it be about everything and nothing said previously? Plenty of poets and writers and theologians and philosophers before our time managed to convince scholars that their works were beyond a singular meaning or interpretation. Why should we restrict music or artists who convey it to such a limited realm?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I like to think the song is about working girls and “coke”.

  25. EmpT says:

    Why do i feel a bad connection to this song?

  26. Me says:

    I too think it’s about addiction – whatever your addiction..thing or person. Right..TDH?

  27. Ted sheeran says:

    %110 about nose beers. Do it once and you’ll relate to the song on a new level lol

  28. Anonymous says:

    I just simply think it’s about vampires

  29. Eadric Wilde says:

    It’s about drug use – pure and simple!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Unless I’m mistaken, just before the second verse 1:38 that begins with…. every pure intention ends when the good times start you can clearly hear someone snorting a line of coke 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Omg

      The human mind is capable of making itself hear quite a lot of things. But now that you’ve mentioned that it 100% does! Carefully disguised as a random sound effect / build into the next verse.

  31. Anonymous says:

    You know it doesn’t matter what it’s about! To Ed it’s about what he says it is for him after all he wrote it, but for everyone else we can take it for whatever meanings relate to us… that’s what I did and it’s one hell of a song. Thanks Ed perfect for me at this time in my life 👏👏

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think this song is about drinking, smoking weeds 😏

  33. Anonymous says:

    This song is about meeting demon.

  34. Anonymous says:

    This song sounds like a hot affair he has. He knows it’s wrong but can’t get away from her seduction and incredible sex. Not necessarily drugs except In a broader sense I think it’s about addicting type of bad behaviors that have longer term negative consequences but due to the short term pleasures they invoke or invoked early on he can’t break away from the euphoria that was experienced initially

  35. Rainbow. says:

    This song sounds like fun, enjoyment and exploring outside the matrix. But because being that way gets frowned upon by the boring sheep, he / and those that also do similar sometimes we start to believe what they’re telling us and we feel bad about ourselves . We shouldn’t though. 😁

  36. Rainbow says:

    I think that was an extremely entertaining thread to read .

  37. Steve says:

    Everybody banging on about drugs/drink it’s actually very cleverly written so the listener can relate to anything they are addicted to, love/ hate/drugs/drink/ chaos, anything that gets its hooks in, also you all might be surprised to find out he didn’t write it, Amy wadge did.

  38. Mimi says:

    Definitely about drugs, good night out on xtc —> wide eyes staring @ space, talking 2 a stranger, losing control of the things that I say, nothing happens after 2 (taking more doesn’t really make you more high because there’s no more serotonin) etc.

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