What Is Taylor Swift’s ‘The Black Dog’ About?

Another weekend, another run of The Eras Tour shows. Taylor Swift found herself in Singapore this weekend, where she announced yet another new edition of The Tortured Poets Department, which features a bonus song called “The Black Dog.”

What Is Taylor Swift’s “The Black Dog” About?

After the song title was revealed, some fans noted that “black dog” is a term related to depression. As BetterHelp explains:

“The term ‘black dog’ is often used in conversations about depression. For many people, this metaphor describes a state of depression characterized by sadness or lack of will, including the loss of desire to partake in activities you once loved. […]

The ‘black dog’ metaphor was initially a phrase sometimes used to describe a brief period in a person’s life. However, the metaphor has grown to encompass a spectrum of depression and its symptoms. For some, the metaphor of the black dog is effective because depression can feel like an ominous, long-suffering presence tracking your every move, like an ominous black dog.

This metaphor can represent the gradual overtaking of enjoyable activities you once loved, the person you once recognized in the mirror, or the life you once lived. The metaphor represents how depression does not take breaks but may feel like a following shadow — a large, lumbering shadow as loyal as a canine.”

There’s also the fact, as one fan pointed out, that in some areas, a black dog is representative of death. ZME Science notes, “For hundreds of years, the people of East Anglia [in England] have whispered tales of a large black dog with evil, flaming eyes. Sometimes these are red, other times green — and yet other times, only one eye peers from the middle of its forehead. This hellhound and its howl are seen as omens of death.”

Others also made a connection to Clara Bow, who has a Tortured Poets song named after her, and her own literal black dog.

Until the song is released or Swift herself offers an explanation, though, these are just fan theories.