“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 what will be Ed Sheeran’s fifth studio album, which at the time does not have a title or set release date. 

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.

18 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.

  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.

    • Liam says:

      It’s definatley a song about drugs and drink for him but his done it in away it can be anything and millions can relate 👌

  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

  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🎵

  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.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s exactly how I took it.

    • Anon says:

      Ew….no..Eds not a gross creep who leers on ‘chatrooms’ . Its most likely about drugs and partying. Only a legit perv has a mindset to think that way

    • Anonymous says:

      Haha! Of all the things – you chose porn and internet chat rooms. I guess comments are all a reflection of the writers mind… I think on balance of probabilities it is simply about drugs, drinking, wasting time at parties and then realising there are bigger things in life…. When the time comes along.

  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 🙂

  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)

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