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Meaning of ‘Habits’ by ‘Tove Lo’

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Released: 2014

“Habits” by Tove Lo dives deep into the story of someone trying to forget a past love by indulging in distractions and self-destructive behavior. It bluntly portrays the struggle to cope with loneliness and heartache, wrapping its raw emotions in catchy pop beats.

The opening lines, “I eat my dinner in my bathtub/Then I go to sex clubs”, set a somber tone, showing how the person is searching for comfort in unusual places, trying to escape their reality. Watching “freaky people getting it on” serves as a distraction, a way to fill the void left by their lost love, but it’s clear these actions don’t bring happiness or peace.

By saying, “I get home, I got the munchies/Binge on all my Twinkies/Throw up in the ‘tub, then I go to sleep”, Tove Lo peels back another layer of the character’s escape methods. Here, overeating and drinking to the point of sickness symbolize a deeper emotional turmoil, a struggle to find solace in anything that can momentarily make them forget the pain of missing someone.

The chorus, “You’re gone, and I gotta stay high all the time/To keep you off my mind”, is direct and powerful. It captures the essence of the song—a relentless effort to stay distracted, to remain in a haze because facing the reality of their loneliness is too difficult. The repetition emphasizes the constant battle with their thoughts and the lengths they’ll go to not think about the person they miss.

The verse, “Pick up daddies at the playground/How I spend my daytime”, introduces a new layer of seeking connection and temporary fixes to numb the pain. It portrays how the character copes by seeking superficial relationships, trying to replace what was lost or to simply feel something other than sadness.

Lastly, “Staying in my play pretend/Where the fun ain’t got no end, oh/Can’t go home alone again/Need someone to numb the pain”, profoundly illustrates the character’s denial and the fantasy world they’ve created where they don’t have to confront their reality. It’s a sad picture of someone trapped in a cycle of escapism, where the only relief from their heartache is found in fleeting moments of forgetfulness.

In summary, “Habits” is more than just a pop song with a catchy tune; it’s a raw, honest depiction of dealing with heartbreak and loneliness. Tove Lo uses vivid imagery and candid lyrics to show the lengths people can go to in order to escape their feelings, even if those methods are harmful. It’s a bold look at the pain of loss and the difficulty of moving on.

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