Florence and the Machine: Dog Days Are Over Meaning
Song Released: 2008
Covered By: Glee Cast
Dog Days Are Over Lyrics
Coming towards her / stuck still / no turning ba-ck
She hid around corners / and she hid under beds /
She killed it with kisses and from it she fl-ed /
With e-very bubble she sank with a drink...
anonymous Feb 4th, 2013 2:41pm report
I first heard Dog Days in Glee (yeah, I know...)
but thanks to the show I discovered the beautiful wonderful world of Florence and the machine.
Anyway, when I first heard Dog Days, I thought it was this happy giddy freedom song.
You see in the Visayas Region of the Philippines (we are a 3rd World country), we have a saying "ting bitay og iro" which means "[it's the time of the year] to hang dogs"... Because a long time ago, when families literally had nothing left to eat, they'd kill stray dogs and have them as a meal.
That's a long time ago, but the expression stuck with everyone. Business people here use it to refer to the slower and harder days (or months) of the year when small enterprises (and even large ones) barely earn any income. So when I first heard of the song, I thought it was about the bad days being over. I thought about how happiness was here and the horses brought with them something new. I thought that the first line "Happiness hit her like a train on a track" was about how strong happiness is coming for her.
That was before I dissected the lyrics (I'm a beat and sound kind of girl).
Now that I've read and reread the lyrics to the song. My interpretation has changed. Considering most of the band's songs are about abuse, violence and empowerment, I now think this song is about domestic violence (or battering).
My new perspective about Dog Days changed when I read that universally, 'dog days' are referred to as happy days. So if you put that to the context of the song its easy to see how its about abuse.
The first stanza:
"Happiness, hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her, stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with a drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink"
Technically, one looks for a lover to find happiness. When you're in a relationship with someone, he or she stands as your happiness. In the song, Her happiness hurts her- he hits her. But she can't leave him (stuck still no turning back). She's afraid of him so she hides and she repays his aggression with kisses... To forget the pain, she starts drinking...
The next line which is the chorus just means that her happy days are over, it's gone now and you should run away and leave him (horses are coming) or else...
"Run fast for your mother run fast for your father
Run for your children for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind you
Can't carry it with you if you want to survive"
For me this line means that if you can't leave him because you love him, then do it for your parents who raised you will.. do it for your children, do it for your family...
That part about "leave all your love and longing behind you, can't carry it with you if you want to survive" - is why I realized this song is about domestic violence. The victims of domestic violence, most of them women, can't leave their husbands or partners because of this belief that if she stays he will get better or that she loves him too much etc. or she has this irrational fear that she'll be nothing or nobody without him. This song tells us to leave those thoughts behind, leave this guy you 'love', whatever 'longing' you have, leave it too. Leave it all if you want to survive.
And the last line that cements my new interpretation:
"Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back
Struck from a great height
By someone who should know better than that"
The writers want to clearly tell us that this girl never expected to be hurt or beaten (bullet in the back). This guy (the batterer) is probably someone you wouldn't expect to do any harm (someone who should know better than that).
So there, my new perspective! Now that I see this song this way, I love it even more and I appreciate Florence & The Machine so much more.
anonymous Feb 26th, 2011 2:48pm report
The song was inspired by an art instalment she saw each while riding her bike by the south bank in London. It read: the dog days are over (hence the title of the song). With it she tried to capture the joys and happiness of the artist's idea (in this case, the artist is Ugo Rondinone).
Here's the picture:
Blackandgold Apr 12th, 2011 4:07am report
I think its a girl who was depressed for a long time maybe because she lost someone close to her like a husband. she stayed still for a long time because of the deppression she was in. One day happiness hit her maybe because she fell in love with someone else and in order to be happy she needs to leave her long lost love and longing for whoever she lost behind because she can't carry it with her if she wants to survive. At first she tried to fight it and hide but a new life is coming(horses) and she needs to start running with it for the sake of her children and all her family.
anonymous Jan 10th, 1:50am report
This song, in my opinion (and it's just that, an opinion) is about slavery.
Like a train on a track"
Well, this part is about a single slave - a girl, who finally reached land and saw her family again.
"Coming towards her,
Stock still no turning back"
This is when a plantation owner or slave buyer approaches her and has bought her. She is stuck still in fright and in shock. She doesn't understand what is going on at all, only that she should hide. "She hid around corners and she hid under beds" proves this.
"She killed it with kisses and from it she fled" this part gets tricky to link to my theory. I think she fell in love with another slave who was living on the plantation but she knows if she wants to escape and see her family she can't have any ties. He got punished for being with her, "killed it with kisses" and she fled from him in fear of roots and ties.
"With every bubble she sank with a drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink"
She became thirsty and dehydrated from work. She realized how much water was wasted as she washed dishes, and bathed the children. This is loosely interpreted but eh, it's 12:41 in the morning.
"The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run"
The dog days are the days where they had it easy. When they weren't treated as poorly. Before the major slave revolts. Before punishments got extremely inhumane. The horses bring cavalry in the army - the cavalry is coming and it won't be good for anyone still there when the cavalry arrives.
"Run fast for your mother
Run fast for your father
Run for your children
For your sisters and your brothers"
All of the slaves she's known are considered family. She's running for all of them.
"Leave all your love
And your longing behind
You can't carry it with you
If you want to survive"
Leave your loved ones. Run with no regrets.
"And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you ever had and
What was left after that too oh"
The slave owners wanted every last minute of work from their slaves.
Like a bullet in the back
Strung from a
From someone who knows better than that"
She was so happy to see her family in the beginning, and then she fell in love. Her happiness was taken away just like life taken from someone who was shot. I think the bullet is a whip, someone standing over her from a great height who knows better than slavery but does it anyway.
At the end, she's revisiting old memories after escaping her plantation.
anonymous Jan 8th, 1:00am report
I believe this song is about dealing with bipolar disorder.
anonymous Dec 23rd, 12:42pm report
I think this song is about the bad days being over and the person feels afraid of letting herself be happy after feeling depressed for a very long time, maybe because of possible dissapointment.
anonymous Apr 27th, 2015 4:55am report
This song is about alcohol addiction. The song starts out where she fuels her addiction by drinking "Happiness hit her like a train on a track Coming towards her stuck still no turning back" this shows her addiction is very bad."She hid around corners and she hid under beds. She killed it with kisses and from it she fled. With every bubble she sank with her drink. And washed it away down the kitchen sink." Then she tried to stop this addiction by abstinence and removing her alcohol.
"The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run"
This part of the song is saying the euphoria from alcohol is over and now she has a horrible urge to relapse so she must run form this feeling. Then it talks about running for her family and friends which means they all want her to get sober. SO yeah basically alcohol addiction
This song is about a horse-apocalypse. She wrote it about this dream she had, where dogs were ruling the universe. It was peaceful during the dogs days and all was plenty till the horses became wary of their place and decided to take over. I called her (yes, we used to be neighbours with florence) and this is what she said, "I wonder why people try to find a deeper meaning beyond the most obvious. It was about this dream I had..." Then she proceeded to tell me the tale I just mentioned.
anonymous Jan 1st, 2015 1:23am report
Hi! This song is not about domestic abuse. I found in http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=16236 the following information:
This paean to the inevitability of happiness was inspired by a giant text installation (of the same name) by the artist Ugo Rondinone, which Welch used to see every day riding her bike over Waterloo Bridge. Florence told Mojo magazine April 2012 about the rainbow-hued text: "It was plastered over the south Bank in London for six months and I rode past it on my bike every day. It's a reference to the dog star, Sirius: when it was closest to the Earth, all the animals would get languid and sleepy; when it moved away, they'd wake up. I've tried to get in touch with him to say thanks."
So according to that text, which I'm not sure if it's correct, "the dog days" are the sleepy days. It's just another perspective.
anonymous Dec 3rd, 2014 12:32am report
This song is about the apocalypse.
The phrase "dog days" refers to the sultry days of summer.
i.e. The end of bright days, the end of happiness.
"The horses are coming so you better run"
Refers to the four horsemen.
This is NOT a love song or an abusive relationship, but I can see how it can be interpreted that way -and everyone has the right to their interpretation. However, I see this song as more of an esoteric dramatization and Florence's own interpretation of the apocalypse... it's more of an Epic Narrative. It's a song that tells a story. Not all songs are about love.
anonymous Nov 1st, 2014 11:06pm report
I think it's about a relationship, abusive or just unrequited. I can see the biblical associations, but the part about "killed it with kisses" and "all I ever wanted from you was everything you had," implies that she was/is in love but doesn't get love back from the person. She decides it's better for herself and her family if she moves on from being in love, because although she was happy at first, when she realized her love was not requited, she was no longer happy (dog days are over), and now she will run free from her abuser (or someone who just doesn't love her) like a horse. Horses are known to run from owners who either abuse them or just don't really seem to care about them--it's an instinct.
anonymous Aug 28th, 2014 8:04pm report
I heard she wrote it about becoming a vegetarian and not eating hot dogs anymore. Seriously.
anonymous Apr 19th, 2014 4:37am report
A primeira vez que ouvi essa música estava em férias viajando em uma cidade da Argentina chamada Rosário. Onde um amigo muuito especial do meu melhor amigo apresentou essa música em janeiro de 2011.
Ao traduzir- lá percebi logo que os dias de cão se acabaram é nada mais que o encontro do verdadeiro amor. Me caso este ano mais precisamente exatamente 4 anos depois do meu primeiro beijo no meu hoje namorado e a partir do dia 11 /10/2014 meu marido...
Quando eu voltei de viagem mostrei a música para ele, e ficou mais claro ainda que se os dias de cão terminaram ,precisaríamos correr pois os cavalos estavam vindo...achar e comprar uma casa, casar e fazer uma festa como sempre sonhei ,exige de mais pra quem ta começando do nada
...e ainda mais ter que se despedir,correr para o pai ,mãe, irmãos pois para onde você irá não poderá leva-los se não você não sobrevivera...
É como no clipe,a celebração de um ritual de passagem pois a felicidade me atingiu como um trem... (detalhe, toda minha festa de casamento está sendo baseada no clipe da música que será minha valsa de casamento) Tô deixando todos Loucos)
anonymous Mar 31st, 2014 3:45pm report
The meaning of the song is about the death... not like a horrible thing, but a nice hopeful end of anyones hard life...
All the analogies that the song made about death (bullet hitting her, train struck her, etc), are really about moments where people died and even though their life were rough, find real peace in death.
When the songs mentions about leaving all behind, its a symbolysm about the transition between life and death (and that all things are left behind when that happens).
The same symbolysm about death could be interpreted when it mention about wanting everything it have (god requesting her/him everything).
The Horses are about the horses of death mentioned in the bible.
anonymous Nov 25th, 2013 11:57pm report
anonymous Jun 10th, 2013 6:35pm report
When I first heard this song, I thought she was singing, "The Dark Days are Over..." so to me, the "dog days" are the dark days.
"Leave all your love and your longing behind you....can't carry it with you if you want to survive"
-For me, that is like leaving someone because you know it's a bad situation, but you still love the person, but you know it's messed up if you stay in it. Like trying to leave an addicted or abusive spouse.
But for me, it's a happy song basically saying she's leaving the negative life she had behind her and she should run towards a happier future.
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