Bad Habit

Album: The Dresden Dolls (2004)
  • 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
    Publisher: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 2

  • Cat from CtIt says biting in the first sentence its actually the first word. She makes tons of references to nail biting throughout the song. It could be taken as either. I thought of it as nail biting, to hold yourself back from the things everyone else is asking you to do. biting your nails is a start to self harm, because its a way to cope. and when trying to stop, they tend to do the other things instead. I think she was referencing a lot of things thought the song. Like how people were telling her to be happy. Like how if you just let your nails grow out you can paint them and they can look nice and you will feel better and feel happy. Honestly it gets annoying. My family does the same thing to me with my nails, everything. So I get everything she was saying. But I think the Be happy was a kick at men don't care about nails why should I? I wanna bite mine let me, its not bugging you. I also think it was touching on how other perceive your emotions your going though.
  • Josh from New York, BarbadosWhile the lyrics, if taken seriously, would make the song seem like it's about self mutilation and the like, it's actually inspired by lead singer Amanda Palmer's bad habit of nail biting. At one point on the Dresden Dolls website there was a letter from an irate mother scolding the songs' creation and how it encouraged young girls to attack their bodies. However, Amanda's response clarified what the song was really about. (thanks, Ife - Toronto, OR)

see more comments

Editor's Picks

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Ian Anderson of Jethro TullSongwriter Interviews

The flautist frontman talks about touring with Led Zeppelin, his contribution to "Hotel California", and how he may have done the first MTV Unplugged.

Bible LyricsMusic Quiz

Rockers, rappers and pop stars have been known to quote the Bible in their songs. See if you match the artist to the biblical lyric.

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.