Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” Lyrics Meaning

The premise of Tove Lo’s “Habits” is the singer recuperating from a breakup. And the lyrics focus on the coping mechanisms she had implemented in order to compensate for the associated emotional turmoil.

First and foremost, as the title suggests, Tove has concluded that she “got to stay high”. And it seems that the intoxicant she prefers in order to achieve this goal is alcohol, with indeed her drinking habit now taking an unfavorable toll on her income.

Tove also admits that she has developed what can be classified as questionable sensual habits. For instance she visits adult “clubs” in order to see “freaky people getting it on”. She has also begun hooking up with older men, whom she actually has no feelings for, in a sensual way. The latter specifically points to her aversion to constantly being alone, particularly on a romantic level. Moreover these are the parts of the song that have received the most press since the singer has admitted that its lyrics are based on her real-life experiences.

Ultimately this song can be interpreted one of two ways. On one hand it can be viewed as a song in which the singer is celebrating a sense of freedom, as in being liberated to express herself in such a frank manner. On the other hand, as was intended by Tove Lo herself, this track can be perceived as one in which the singer is in mourning, as in lamenting a lost love. Indeed the real-life breakup she experienced which “Habits” references was of course a very-painful experience. And likewise such is a sentiment she really wanted to put across in this song.


So all things considered, we can conclusively say that this track is about the bad “habits” the singer has developed due to the emotional turmoil she was in at the particular juncture of her life during which it was penned. The root of this chaos, as aforementioned, is the singer having gone through a heart-wrenching breakup. And as a result, Tove Lo has resorted to alcohol abuse and an immoral lifestyle in order to cope with the related pain.

What Tove Lo has said about “Habits (Stay High)”

According to an interview she granted to Q Magazine, she’s singing about her life in this song.

Tove Lo sheds light on "Habits"

Accolades and Successes of “Habits (Stay High)”

“Habits (Stay High)” proved to be a massive international hit.  For instance it topped the charts in Canada, Poland and Romania, as well as a couple of Billboard’s lists (Hot Rock Songs and Mainstream Top 40) in the United States.  As for the Billboard Hot 100 itself, this song peaked at number 3.  And it also broke the top 10 in Austria, the Czech Republic, Demark, France, Hungary, Mexico and Switzerland.

Additionally “Habits (Stay High)” achieved multi-platinum status in both Canada and the United States.

Moreover in Tove Lo’s homeland of Sweden, this track managed to win a Grammi (similar to a Grammy in the US) in 2015. It won in the Song of the Year category.

Additional accolades “Habits (Get High)” received include being placed on number 23 on Rolling Stone’s list of 2014’s greatest songs.

Release Date of “Habits (Stay High)”

Tove Lo originally dropped this song on 15 March 2013. It served as the second single and lead single respectively from her debut EP (Truth Serum) and her debut album (Queen of the Clouds).

The “Hippie Sabotage Remix” of this song was also featured on Truth Serum.

That version performed well too, breaking the top 10 in the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Scotland
  • Britain (where it hit a peak of number 6 on the UK Singles Chart)

Vin Diesel’s Version of “Habits (Stay High)”

As you may be well aware, Vin Diesel is an actor, not a singer. However, he performed a rendition of this song in 2015 as a tribute to fellow Hollywood actor Paul Walker. Walker passed away in 2013 and was a friend and regular co-star of Diesel’s. He did so shortly after the release of “Furious 7”, the last film they made together.

Did Tove Lo really write “Habits (Stay High)”?

Yes. She wrote the song along with The Struts (who also took care of the song’s production responsibilities).  The Struts is a Swedish songwriting and producing duo. This duo consists of Ludvig Söderberg and Jakob Jerlström.

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