The Meaning of Steve Lacy's "Bad Habits" Lyrics

One of the biggest songs of 2022 is also one of the strangest songs in recent memory. After years of making genre-defying, internet-savvy soul music as a member of The Internet, Steve Lacy burst onto the scene as a solo artist with "Bad Habit," which earned him a Grammy Major nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The lead single from his second solo album , Gemini Rights, is an adventurous R&B anthem with catchy lines and countless hypnotic melodies that TikTok users were instantly hooked on , helping it reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While "Bad Habits" sounds smooth and confident, the lyrics are pretty much the ultimate expression of "could have been, should have been" (only Taylor Swift beat him out for her 2022 song with the same title). Lacey expressed his regret from the beginning. "A step taken, a step could have been taken," he sings, before asking, "Is it too late to chase now?" In the chorus, Lacey mourns having developed a romantic interest in someone but not Courage takes action and explains that this has been a pattern he has been unable to break. "I bite my tongue, it's a bad habit," he sings. "I'm kind of pissed 'cause I didn't try/Thought you were too good for me, honey/Never gave me the time of day, honey." The catchy post-chorus makes his intentions loud and clear, Pleading: "I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me."

Lacey is perhaps the most pensive and reflective, as the music disappears entirely and the object of his gaze returns, suddenly available, leaving nothing but his own doubts. "You can't surprise Gemini," he sings. "I'm everywhere, I'm cross-eyed, and now you're back, I can't decide." Maybe there's room for a happy ending after all.

In a recent interview on CBS Sunday Morning , Lacey played a clip from an early version of "Bad Habits," which sounded more streamlined and acoustic-based than the final version, bringing lyrics of conflict and regret to the foreground . As he told Billboard in July 2022, "Bad Habits" evolved over the course of a year, with the drums and chorus starting out very different. Even his friend Tyler, The Creator got involved, encouraging him to change the post-chorus. "It started with, 'I wish I knew you /I wish I knew you wanted me.' And then he said, 'It would actually be more memorable if you took the word 'you' out,' so to Taylor For shouting,” he said.

As he told, while Lacey may not have the most public experience of being hesitant about pursuing a crush, he doesn't have much advice for people in the same situation. "When it comes to shooting, that's a good question, but I would say just do what feels good to you," he said. If you need some inspiration, read the full lyrics to “Bad Habits” below.

I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me

I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me

You, oh, uh, what do you do?

It’s time to take action. It’s time to take action.

if i knew i would be with you

Is it too late to pursue it now?

I bit my tongue, it's a bad habit

A little annoyed I didn't try it

I thought you were too good for me, honey

Never gave me the time of day, honey

It doesn't matter, I think the reason why it happened is certain, yes

I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me

I wish I knew (oh), I wish I knew you wanted me

I wish I knew (yeah), I wish I knew you wanted me (oh)

I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me

Say it to me (please say it to me)

if you still want

I wish you wouldn't play with me, I wanna know (Oh no)

Uh, can I bite your tongue like my bad habit?

Do you mind if I try it?

My dear, aren't you too kind to me?

Funny you came back to me, honey

It doesn't matter, everything happens for a reason that I can't ignore, yes

I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me

I wish I knew (Wish I knew), I wish I knew you wanted me (Oh)

You can't surprise a Gemini, I'm everywhere, I'm cross-eyed, and

Now that you're back, I can't decide whether to invite you or not

you always know how to amaze me

Fuck it, tie it, I open it, I make it noisy

Then go on, but I won't hide

You grab me tight 'cause you know you're gonna find biscuits and gravy, baby, ahhh

You can't surprise a Gemini, but you know it's biscuits and it's gravy, baby

I know you'll be back 'cause you know it's biscuits, it's gravy, baby

Let's have sex in the back of the mall, lose control, get silly, get crazy, baby

I know I'll be in your heart until the end

You're gonna miss me, don't beg me, baby