"Bad Habit" as written by and Amanda Palmer....
Biting keeps your words at bay
Tending to the sores that stay
Happiness is just a gash away
When I open a familiar scar
Pain goes shooting like a star
Comfort hasn't failed to follow so far

And you might say it's self-indulgent
You might say its self-destructive
But, you see, it's more productive
Than if I were to be healthy

And pens and penknives take the blame
Crane my neck and scratch my name
But the ugly marks are worth the momentary gain
When I jab a sharpened object in
Choirs of angels seem to sing
Hymns of hate in memorandum

And you might say it's self-indulgent
And you might say it's self-destructive
But, you see, it's more productive
Than if I were to be happy

And sappy songs about sex and cheating
Bland accounts of two lovers meeting
Make me want to give mankind a beating

And you might say it's self-destructive
But, you see, I'd kick the bucket
Sixty times before I'd kick the habit

And as the skin rips off I cherish the revolting thought
That even if I quit there's not a chance in hell I'd stop
And anyone can see the signs, mittens in the summertime
Thank you for your pity, you are too kind

And you might say its self-inflicted
But you see that's contradictive
Why on earth would anyone practice self-destruction?

And pain opinions are sitcom feeding
They don't know that their minds are teething
Makes me want to give mankind a beating

I've tried bandages and sinking
I've tried gloves and even thinking
I've tried vaseline, I've tried everything

And no one cares if your back is bleeding
They're concerned with their hair receding
Looking back, it was all maltreating
Every thought that occurred misleading

Makes me want to give myself a beating



Lyrics submitted by okokayok

"Bad Habit" as written by Amanda Palmer

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Bad Habit song meanings
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131 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"WHY DOESN'T ANYONE KNOW ABOUT THE DRESDEN DOLLS!!! "
    because mainstream music fans are fucking morons.

    and the song is about self-mutilation, obviously.
    gravity_is_noton December 23, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentone of the best off of their self titled album

    the best line of this song is where so goes "I've tried vaseliiiiiiiine." i love how amanda just belts it out.
    anna118kon June 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbest song on the album!!!!!
    for me, this song is definitely about cutting. i could go line by line analysis for this song. in fact....
    it starts off with an attempt to escape from reality.
    "biting keeps your words away..." this stanza shows that the protagonist of the song is using pain to escape reality, and he/she finds comfort in the pain.
    the protoganist believes that the self-mutilation is actually helping her. she needs to cut to be able to function.
    in the third stanza, she describes the experience of cutting as an euphoric experience. "when i jab a sharpened object in
    choirs of angels seem to sing
    hymns of hate in memorandum" (also the best line in the song. it becomes a religious routine.
    she then begins to complain about the mundane of every day life. "bland accounts of two lovers meeting..." and so on. this re-enforcers her need to escape reality, by doing something outside the norm.
    the pain becomes more important then anything to her life. "that even if i quit
    there's not a chance in hell i'd stop". she admits that she can quit anytime, but she will keep on coming back to her pain. she has tried to stop, with bandages, vaseline and so on. however, by the end of the song, she realises it was all for nothing. this makes her fall into self-loathing and makes her want to hurt herself more. it becomes a cycle
    the song starts off as the protagonist tries to explain to people why she does what she does. but by the end of the song it becomes a plea.
    this song reminds my a lot of the smiths (adding to my love to it more) and is just downright brilliant. amandas power to mix poignant lyrics to poppy songs is amazing.
    Madkalon May 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI only skimmed through the first page of comments and one really pissed me off.


    On 01-29-2005 someone under the username Monstergirl, said that the song is "about the stupidity of self-destructive people."

    Who the hell are you to criticize something that you've never experienced? I'm well aware that this song isn't JUST about cutting, but about self-mutilation in general, but for me it screamed cutter. I was a cutter for almost 3 years. You don't know what I was experiencing at that time, you don't know what was running through my head. How dare you say that self-injurers are stupid. I'm sure that many people think that the shit that you do is stupid.


    Now that that's out of my system...
    This is really a beautiful song. It's EXACTLY how I look at cutting. I quit for me. I didn't think I needed it anymore, but I still share the same views on self-injury as Amanda Palmer. You're not hurting anyone. It's NOT a suicide attempt.

    Favortie line: "Thank you for your pity, you are too kind".
    It's personal.
    People feel bad for you for the one thing that makes you happy...it doesn't make since to me.
    TuskAndTemperon February 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOKAY YOU GUYS. WE GET IT. AMANDA WROTE THE FUCKING SONG BECAUSE SHE BITES THE GOD DAMN SKIN AROUND HER GOD DAMN NAILS.

    That may be what gave her the idea but this quite blatantly refers to other "bad habits" and there is no way you could tell me the lines

    "...but the ugly marks
    are worth the momentary gain...
    when i jab a sharpened object in
    choirs of angels seem to sing
    hymns of hate in memorandum"

    are solely about biting your nails. No. I am not having any of that shit.
    Music is always up for interpretation by the listener and Amanda tricks us with songs all the time, too. I can even apply some of this to shooting up.

    Anyway I was kind of- neigh, very disappointed to hear about the true inspiration behind this.
    I listened to it and though someone wrote a beautiful song about what cutting is like. Not a mechanism for gaining attention, not something kids do to look cool or deep, but something people use to comfort them, as therapy and a release.
    It may not be the best thing to use but its more than just fashionable.

    Oh, and I took the "mittens in the summertime" line another way too; wearing heavy, out of season clothes in hot weather to cover up scars. Anywhere, not just the hands.
    ykcowrebbaJon January 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentre: the Vaseline bit some people are pondering, I think it can go two ways if we're being strictly literal-.

    1. Vaseline can be sort of like lotion in that it'll soften your skin (if you've read Of Mice and Men, you might recall Curley wearing a glove filled with Vaseline to soften his left hand). from experience (I'm guilty of skin-biting/tearing), it's a LOT more tempting to "indulge" when the skin is already torn because it makes it easier to and also because it's overall frustrating to have skin that isn't "smooth" or unbitten.

    2. Vaseline can heal the damage. this is an effort to erase the evidence and prevent future damage.

    in a broader sense, the narrator's tried just about everything to stop because s/he acknowledges it's destructive and unattractive, but everything's failed them and only opened up a new avenue to indulge.
    daretheghoston November 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWHY DOESN'T ANYONE KNOW ABOUT THE DRESDEN DOLLS!!!
    lieutenantmammalon May 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWHY DOESN'T ANYONE KNOW ABOUT THE DRESDEN DOLLS!!! This is the first song I heard by them by absolute luck, because they won a battle of the bands hosted by WBCN. The song was insane I never heard anything like them before and so I had to find out who they were. Anyways I love this if you haven't heard it, by the way the vocalist is a girl, it's different but great.
    lieutenantmammalon May 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy ask why? They are not a huge band. I hope they get bigger though, because I would like to hear new stuff from them. I found out about this band from Mindless Self Indulgence's concerts. They were a band that played with them.
    TheDownwardSpiralon October 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song because my 2 best friends have this 'bad habit' and it lets me understand why and that its not selfish and all that...
    I agree dresden dolls are fantastic i found out about them on JJJ with coin operated boy but ive found so many more better songs
    smashing_meon December 02, 2004   Link

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