The butter melts out of habit
The toast isn't even warm
The waitress and the man in the plaid shirt
Play out a scene they've played
So many times before
I am watching the sun stumble home in the morning
From a bar on the east side of town
And the coffee is just water dressed in brown
Beautiful but boring
He visited me yesterday
He noticed my fingers
And asked me if I would play
I didn't really care a lot
But I couldn't think of a reason why not
I said if you don't come any closer I don't mind if you stay
My thighs have been involved in many accidents
And now I can't get insured
And I don't need to be lured by you
My cunt is built like a wound that won't heal
And now you don't have to ask
Because you know how I feel
You know how I feel

Art is why I get up in the morning
But my definition ends there
And it doesn't seem fair
That I'm living for something I can't even define
There you are right there
In the meantime

I don't want to play for you anymore
Show me what you can do
Tell me what are you here for
I want my old friends
I want my old face
I want my old mind
Fuck this time and place

The butter melts out of habit

Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

Out of Habit Lyrics as written by Ani Difranco


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Out of Habit song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    I think it's about the human tendency to fall into a pattern, and the realization of it. Whether it's that coffee you drink every morning while not even noticing what it tastes like, or that repetitive unsatisfying sex life. I think it really says something though that through this, art is the reason that she does all of this. The great power that art, in any of its forms, can do to you, even though you can't even define what it does. And then there's that person that is always there. He's usually a good thing, but again, just part of your habitual unsatisfying routine. I think she's describing that intense realization that your life is lived "out of habit" and that it makes you want to just say "fuck this time and place."

    with eyes to hearon January 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    She starts and ends with the theme as she does in "32 flavors" and probably does in some other songs.

    The butter melts because that's what it does and not only because the toast is warm.

    The waitress and the man play out a scene they've played out many times before because it's their habit and routine.

    She watches the sun stumble home to the sky as it does every morning. The coffee she drinks loses it's potency, as a stimulant, as she habitually drinks it and therefore it becomes as "water dressed in brown."

    -For some reason the coffee line sticks out. I think that she noticed how she habitually drank coffee and found her inspiration in that.--beautiful

    The "beautiful but boring" guy that visits her could be any regular guy that finds her attractive. This is where the song gets interesting. She says she doesn't care a lot and she plays. She plays out of habit, however she does tell him to not come any closer. I think this is where she breaks free of habit.

    Her cunt is built like a wound that won't heal. This is a very powerful line and expresses, very directly, how she now feels about sex. I'm guessing that she used to have sex habitually and is tired of the regular old lay.

    Then she tries to explain to this regular joe that there is more to living than sex. In three letters, art. And art doesn't have a definition. And she realizes that he's not actually comprehending the meaning behind what she's trying to say.

    So she decides to stop playing for him. She wants him to show what he can do (to play for her), what sort of art he can create. She then reminisces about the way it used to be when she was just like the regular girl who then tryed something new and came up with something dazzling and beautiful, mainly her music. Therefore "fuck this time and place".

    God this song is so depressing. But it really hits home and if you sit and ponder it for a little while you might find that if you try something new and just give it a shot you'll find your own personal style of "art."

    sound_of_silenceon April 02, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I can't believe only one person commented on this song!!! I love it!! It is very emotional with expressive lyrics. I agree with everything above except for the end. I think that when she sings "i don't want to play for you anymore show me what you can do tell me what are you here for i want my old friends i want my old face i want my old mind fuck this time and place" she is talking about how she can't just have "fun" anymore. She needs a more mature love and can't continue "wounding" herself. Its perfection and a song that more girls should pay attention to!

    city212girlon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this song profoundly changed my life. i was listening to it on a bus one day on my way to college and realized i was living "out of habit". it was a pretty pivotal moment for me. i think its a great argument against complacency, and when she says fuck this time and place, she's giving a big fuck you to this entire life and city of complacency she's found herself in, and acknowledging her role in it too. and this is the best use of the C-word i have ever heard.

    kylebankon July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think you're wrong on this "`mature love' not sex" reading - philosophically/sexual-politically it doesn't fit with certain other songs of hers. Good on her for using the c word in its correct meaning, despite being American!

    imrazoron June 07, 2010   Link

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