Meaning of “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine captures a moment of awakening, liberation, and the pursuit of happiness. The song paints a picture of someone running from past traumas, ready to embrace a brighter future. It’s a message about leaving behind the weight of past sorrows and moving forward with urgency and hope. The title itself suggests the end of tough times (“dog days”), and the promise of a new era. Although it’s open to interpretation, one might see it as a personal journey of Florence Welch, the lead singer, as she breaks free from her old self and steps into newfound freedom.

Feel the rhythm, feel the rush. Dive deeper into the profound layers of “Dog Days Are Over” and witness the transformative journey of a soul in search of happiness.

“Dog Days Are Over” Lyrics Meaning

The opening lines, “Happiness hit her like a train on a track,” immediately present a vivid image of sudden and overwhelming emotion. This isn’t gentle happiness; it’s forceful and unexpected. The choice of “train on a track” depicts something unstoppable, suggesting that once happiness is found, it’s hard to turn away.

“She hid around corners and she hid under beds. She killed it with kisses and from it she fled,” could indicate a fear of confronting true happiness. It’s not uncommon for people to be afraid of change, even if it’s positive. This evasion, hiding from happiness or perhaps from past traumas, is further illustrated by “With every bubble she sank with her drink,” hinting at potential ways of drowning sorrows or coping mechanisms.

“The dog days are over. The dog days are done,” refers to the harshest, most oppressive days of summer, symbolizing trying periods in life. The proclamation of their end signifies the overcoming of challenges and hardships.

The chorus, with lines urging to “Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father…” evokes a sense of urgency. It’s as if the past is chasing her and there’s a need to flee, to leave everything behind, even love and longing, to truly survive and move forward.

The contrasting imagery of “Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back,” reiterates the suddenness and intensity of happiness or change, while also suggesting an element of surprise or betrayal by someone “who should know better.”

Throughout the song, the repeated mentions of horses as in “Can you hear the horses? ‘Cause here they come,” symbolize an impending powerful force. Horses often represent freedom, strength, and momentum, further emphasizing the theme of transformation and moving onward.

Why Was “Dog Days Are Over” Written?

Florence Welch, the soul behind Florence + the Machine, has always been known to infuse her music with raw emotions and profound personal experiences. When “Dog Days Are Over” was written, it can be perceived as a reflection of her own struggles and eventual enlightenment.

Welch’s unique ability to capture intense emotions hints at her own relationship with happiness, trauma, and the process of healing. The urgency in the lyrics might very well be a mirror to the urgency she felt in her own life at that time – a desperate need to move on, to heal, and to embrace happiness without the weight of past sorrows holding her back.

In various interviews, Welch has spoken about her battles with anxiety, depression, and her journey to self-acceptance. This song stands as a testament to that journey, offering listeners not just a glimpse into her soul but also a universal message of hope and resilience.