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.
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 3rd, 2011 1:58pm report
The stagnant, boring days, are through. Happiness, joy is here and came from out of the blue. She tried to hide from love, but it caught up with her.
anonymous Jul 17th, 7:29am report
was sent this song by a woman i loved to death, who had been physically and mentally abused in her previous relationships. we had a beautiful thing going until i had to work out of town, then within a couple weeks of me working out of town, trying to support her and her very sick young daughter she left for a cocaine dealing wannabe nazi midget that didn't need to work. i think it means that she is an idiot and would eat a poison pill before she thought twice. as long as she was the center of attention ;)at least i'm not bitter...
anonymous May 30th, 5:48am report
Hearing this song for the first time, my immediate thought was, "What could this song actually be about?" My first reaction was that she is establishing that she is going to be happy. And delving into the lyrics further, I think this song may be overthought by a lot of people.
"Happiness, hit her like a train on a track," and "Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back," are just used to describe the fact that all of a sudden she was happy, and how quick it all happened. I think there is the possibility of the song being about overcoming depression. Sometimes I think being happy is about deciding to be happy, and I think that's what this song is about, deciding to be happy for one's own sake.
"Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father... leave all your love and your longing behind you can't carry it with you if you want to survive," are the most difficult lyrics to match up with the rest of the song in my opinion. To be honest, my first thought was about how in the Buddhist religion (I am Lutheran christian) one must give up their wordly desires to be happy. Looking at it again, I think that it really just means you have to accept that not everything is going to go your way in life and you can't let little downfalls get you down because you know they'll happen anyway because hey, that's life.
I think the first verse accurately describes her struggle to accept happiness into her life by letting go of her mind. "She killed it with kisses and from it she fled" refers to her lack of realization on how to find happiness by purposefully running away from something good.
This song is quite a tough one to interpret and I think there are definitely many, many possiblle interpretations and I respect them all equally, this is just my personal interpretation and how I listen to it when I hear the song. I definitely think that regardless of the specific interpretation that it is in fact a happy song and talking about being happy and feeling good.
anonymous May 25th, 5:54am report
The song is about overcoming abuse. Realizing you have to leave them and the hurt behind you to move on.
"Struck from a great height, By someone who should know better than that"
anonymous May 6th, 5:50am report
I think it is about her experiencing life after death. The lines, "Happiness hit her like a train on a track","happiness hit her like a bullet in the back", and "with every bubble she sank with her drink" are all ways of dying (Train suicide, shot by a gun, and drowning). When she says the dog days are over, she is claiming that there are no troubles in heaven. She also says, "leave all your love and your longing behind," which ties in with no worries or regrets after dying from the the things that killed her.
anonymous Jan 8th, 2016 1:00am report
I believe this song is about dealing with bipolar disorder.
anonymous Dec 23rd, 2015 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.
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