How Ed Sheeran’s Single “Bad Habits” Debuts His NEW Era Of Music

On June 24, 2021, Ed Sheeran released a new song called “Bad Habits” which surprised his fans with its sound.
Bad Habits
Image Source: Elit Daily

Ed Sheeran has a Reputation as a Romantic Musician with Love Songs

People love Ed Sheeran, but a majority of the time, it’s for one reason: his love songs are super romantic.

The song that made Ed Sheeran famous was “A Team” in 2011, which was a song about a prostitute trying to stop her drug addiction. “A Team” is not about love, but this exposer led to people falling in love with other songs in his Plus album like “Give Me Love,” “Lego House,” and “Drunk.” These songs are about heartbreak, but their fame made way to making “Thinking out Loud” and “Photograph” Ed Sheeran’s first love hits, which came from his Multiply album.

Because of this, he had gained the romantic reputation that he was required to make a batch of love songs for his Divide album. From it,  “Shape of You” and “Perfect” outranked “Thinking out Loud” and “Photograph” on streaming platforms. “Shape of You” and “Perfect” are also the most played songs on radios.

The requirement then seems to extend to his No.6 Collaborations Project since most of the songs revolve around love. In fact, his song “I Don’t Care” with Justin Bieber ranked number five on Ed Sheeran’s most streamed songs from Billboard. 

To add on, Ed Sheeran says he has two boxes to check for his albums. The first one is to write love songs. The second is the space he has to write whatever he wants. 

“I feel like I have boxes that I need to tick with my album for me and my fan base. I feel like if I didn’t have love songs on there, people would be like, ‘What are you doing? Like, this is why we like you,’ so there’s like these boxes that I need to tick and there’s like this kind of box that just says unknown where it can be anything, and you can try out any sound. And I feel like as a musician, it’s my job to keep trying different things.”

So because of this reputation, he has continuously written love songs to please his fans, making people see him as a romantic. However, even though the love songs are required, he still writes from his heart and makes them genuine.

As a result, any of his songs make people perceive them as love or heartbreak songs. When in reality, his fans know he’s more than a romantic. Because if he were to remove the love songs, his albums would be chapters of diary entries about different points of his life. 

Either or, he’s an artist who keeps evolving and changing. 

“If I was then now on my fifth album and I was still making the same thing I was making ten years ago, no one would be interested.”

The title of being a romantic may contrast that since it feels like a stagnant position as a musician. But even though he mainly writes love songs, he experiments with a variety of tunes and beats. No love song, or any song he’s written, sounds like the last, which is why he’s a perfect ghostwriter for other artists. 

Image Source: Ada's Kids

If you don’t know by now, Ed Sheeran has written a multitude of songs for other artists like “Strip That Down” for Liam Payne, “Cold Water” for Major Lazer, “Lay It All On Me” for Rudimental, “Love Yourself” for Justin Bieber, “Make It Right” for BTS and so much more.

As a matter of fact, when Ed writes a hit, he writes the song with someone else in mind until he’s told it needs to be on his album instead, so then he spends months EDifying it to match his album.

“I’d like written with someone else in mind, and then as soon as someone like my record label boss was like ‘You have to finish this for you,’ it takes a while for me to get my head around that and actually make it fit on the record. So when “Bad Habits” was done, it took like three months of me trying to make it edified and get it to fit on the record.”

Ed Sheeran’s Musical Style is Changing in His Upcoming Album

Sheeran typically uses his acoustic guitar for all his songs. Sometimes his songs would have beats, occasionally drums, or a piano. Except those sounds were gone in “Bad Habits.” 

Ed Sheeran’s song “Bad Habits” resembles techno with a bass beat that makes you want to dance, suggesting that his new album might involve electronic music and its various genres. 

Although we can’t be sure if he will dive into electronic music since his upcoming album will be missing his loop pad and replaced with a band. This is because he felt like his weakest songs on the album needed a band, which seemed to give him an existential crisis about his career.

The loop pad has been Ed Sheeran’s artistic signature, so is he stripping a piece of himself by not using it? He doesn’t know, so he’s being experimental with the band until he answers that question.

“I’m sort of testing the waters with it because I’ve kind of played with the loop pad for 15 years, and I’m like ‘Is this my unique selling point, or is this something that I need to build on’… So I just need to work out what’s better and what’s the next step for my career.”

Because of this, we might see experimentation of genres since Ed doesn’t believe in being categorized or known for being in one genre. This is especially true since we’ve seen him dip in a few genres like rap and rock with his collaboration album. So it’s more likely we’ll see Sheeran being experimental in his upcoming album.

“The genre is music, and you just create whatever you want to create.”

Ed Sheeran's music video for
Image Source: OTC

Yet despite the band, his new album might involve electronic music. 

Before “Bad Habits,” Ed Sheeran had a different single ready to be released. He had one more session before it was complete, but England announced they were opening up.

The original song he picked was depressing Lofi, so he contemplated the song’s vibe with the news and decided to create a dancing tune for his single to uplift people as they go out and have fun again. 

The Meaning Behind Ed Sheeran’s Song “Bad Habits

Upbeat with dark lyrics, “Bad Habits” is about Ed Sheeran’s bad habits with eating junk food, drinking, and partying, which he didn’t fix until Cherry was pregnant with Lyra. 

For the first six months, Sheeran focused on being Cherry’s husband by helping with her pregnancy, but it wasn’t until three months before Lyra’s birth when he realized he should stop drinking.

“I was like if my wife’s water breaks at any point, I want to be able to drive. I don’t want to be sat in front of the tv with a glass of wine and be like I can’t- I can’t drive.”

He also applied this to his daughter’s life and how she needs a dad, not a drunk or a party animal.

“I liked my 20s, I had a great time in my 20s, and I don’t need to bring that in. I don’t need to have any of that come into my daughter’s life.”

Image Source: The West

With this information, any romantic perception from the song “Bad Habits” can be removed. Yet, that can be hard to do when the word “you” seems to refer to a romantic partner. 

Although the “you” actually refers to a piece of himself, a side that’s not good, because it’s the side that indulges in his bad habits, which is exposed when Ed says, “Every pure intention ends when the good times start.” And when this happens, he says, “I'll lose control of the things that I say/ Yeah, I was lookin' for a way out, now I can't escape.”

His acknowledgment of his bad habits is what leads him to “late nights endin’ alone/ Conversations with a stranger I barely know,” which illustrates how he ends up talking to himself about what he has done. 

To add on, The word “stranger” emphasizes the ‘other’ that exists in him. Though the fact that he had conversations with them, the word “stranger” also demonstrates the outside body experience of reflection and not understanding how or why this horrible side exists since it’s not who he is.

At the same time, the word “alone” expresses the feeling of guilt and helplessness with his internal battle of bad habits. So when he says, “Swearin' this will be the last, but it probably won’t,” he confirms that he has an addiction. 

Image Source: NME

However, Ed heals. The lyrics don’t express that, but his video does.

In his music video for “Bad Habits,” Sheeran’s a vampire, revealing that he’s a different person when he indulges in his bad habits, which is emphasized when a dummy of himself melts in his hands as CGI people flip and bounce around him.

Seemingly chaotic and random to view, it’s the safe’s way to express the destruction his bad habits have on the people around him. But when the sun comes up, the makeup of Vampire Ed disappears as the sunlight showers him and becomes the original Ed again, which can have two meanings. One, this can support that he’s a different person at night, or two, he learned to heal. 

In my opinion, he learned to heal since the group of monsters who were with him decide to hide when the sun comes up. When this happens, I see it as their unwillingness to change since Ed let himself return to who he was before his addictions. And because he changed for his daughter, I also think of this as Ed’s rebirth. But maybe I’m going a bit far with that.

Vampire Ed transforming to Original Ed
Image Source: Headline Planet

Ultimately, the song “Bad Habits” is Ed’s personal story of his bad habits while revealing a new era of music with his upcoming album that reflects his life in the past four years. 

He's gone through so many changes, which his new music will align with. So, for now, we’re left curious until he releases his album at the end of the year.

Hi! Hello! My pronouns are she/her, and I'm a storyteller who loves tea and cats.

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