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Released: 2021

“Bad Habits” by Ed Sheeran is a poignant self-reflection on one’s temptations and the cyclical path of self-destructive behaviors. The song delves deep into the heart of the party lifestyle with all its allure and inevitable downsides, chronicling the conflict between the allure of bad habits and the desire to escape from them.

The song kicks off with the line, “Every time you come around, you know I can’t say no”, the first direct admission of his struggle with temptation. ‘You’ here is the embodiment of his bad habits. When the sun goes down, signifying the onset of night, he gives into temptation and lets it take control. ‘I can feel the paradise before my world implodes’ – this is an articulate way to show that while indulging these habits seems like paradise in the moment, it leads to disastrous repercussions. The chorus, “My bad habits lead to late nights endin’ alone” paints a vivid picture of loneliness and regret that often follows the exhilarating but fleeting thrill.

“Every pure intention ends when the good times start.” Ed Sheeran is saying that good intentions are often lost when one dives into the whirlpool of temptation. He’s ‘fallin’ over everything’ to feel that initial high (‘the first time’s spark’), which started under neon lights – a clear symbol for nightlife and partying. But then, it all gets dark, hinting at the outcome of over-indulging.

As the song progresses, “I only know how to go too far” is a stark confession that encapsulates the addictive nature of such habits, and how it’s often a steep slope from enjoyment to dependency. The lines, “Yeah, I was lookin’ for a way out, now I can’t escape” clearly indicate the struggle with his inner demons and his failed attempts to break free from these habits. ‘Nothin’ happens after two’, is a nod to the emptiness he feels after the initial thrill wears off.

“We took the long way ’round, And burned ’til the fun ran out, now” serves as a melancholic reflection of the journey he’s been on – one filled with excitement, but also with inevitable burnout. The repetition of the chorus “My bad habits lead to you”, conveys the cyclical, repetitive nature of these habits and their enduring impact.

Overall, “Bad Habits” is a brutal introspection of Sheeran’s struggle with self-control and his attempts to navigate the repercussions of his actions. It underscores the vicious cycle of short-term pleasure and long-term regret that characterizes a lifestyle dominated by poor habits.

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