Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb Meaning
Song Released: 1980
Comfortably Numb Lyrics
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?
Come on, now.
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.
I need some information first.
anonymous May 27th 2009, 15:27 report
Wow, I can't believe how many of you guys are dead wrong about this because of the movie. This song is about HEROIN. It's actually the heroin itself having a conversation with him convincing him to take the drug. It very very simple to figure out if you listen to the lyrics.
It will just make you a little sick refers to becoming "dope sick" when you are withdrawing from heroin. I thought everyone knew the meaning of this song, I guess I was wrong.
anonymous Mar 20th 2009, 01:32 report
This place is very disappointing. I wanted a real interpretation of this song, but you guys are more lost then I am. This song has nothing to do with an artist taking drugs to go play a show.
This song is about seeing life for what it truly is. One can only see life for what it truly is as a child and then we get windows of sight when we are on hallucinogens.
"Now I got that feeling once again.
I can't explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb."
He is trying to say explain just what I had said here. He is not himself now because he is a grown human who is comfortably numb to what most people refer to as our innocence as a child.
In the last verse on this subject he further explains that he caught a glimpse of what life really is in the window we all get to take a peak through when on hallucinogens. When he went to better examine life and truly understand it, it was gone. He cannot remember all the details when sober and he cannot explain it, none of us can. Then he concludes that he is comfortably numb to these facts, as we all are.
"When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone."
As for the rest of the song it is just more to explain his central theme which is what I have explained.
I'll go over it a little but it should be self explained if you understand what I have already explained.
He just gives the example that none of us can truly "fix" each other and admits that he himself that he cannot completely understand other people. But then goes on to attempt to explain his theme anyways.
Have you ever noticed when you talk about very serious subjects that require a lot of deep thought with someone that there is always a distraction, or you can't seem to stay on the same level, or you can't fully understand what a person is trying to say, and they cannot fully understand what you are trying to say. If you have ever done hallucinogens you should notice that these things happen, as if by some other force. It's life, we are not meant to fully understand how everything works or is, but we know deep down inside and it pains us not to be able to explain so we make things like songs, poems, stories, etc.
However from what I understand so far in life is that we over complicate things and that's where our problems come from. We cannot be like children because we know fear, dangers, evil and have to protect ourselves from it. Hallucinogens just takes down our ego and let's us examine ourselves and the world with it gone. I'll leave it all at that.
Hello... Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
Come on, now, I hear you're feeling down I can ease the pain get you on your feet again
Relax, I need some information first
just the basic facts
can you tell me where it hurts?
I agree that this is describing SOMEONE administering a drug to keep Pink going at least long enough to perform. It doesn't have to be a doctor, it could be a dealer or anyone else giving Pink the fix, it could even be Pink himself, and the dialogue is with himself wondering what is really going on and what he is really feeling since he is so used to not feeling anything at all.
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
This refers to how to drugs, probably opiate pain killers, make him feel once he gets the fix. He doesn't feel any pain, and he is receding-- disconnecting from the "real world", he's far away now far gone from this world that surrounds him, while he is physically there, he is not mentally or emotionally there. He's trying to reconnect but he's so far gone and has been that way that interaction is unfamiliar and he doesn't know how to reconnect with the real world.
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I have that feeling once again
I can't explain, you would not understand This is not how I am.
Ok this could be taken literally I suppose. It could be that this is a legit flashback of a childhood memory. I sometimes wonder if its just a comparison to how one time as a child he has this feeling like his hands were like balloons, swollen but empty, and he had a fever. This could be because he could being feeling sick from withdrawal or because he internally feels empty, perhaps both. The "this is not how I am" is him recognizing that this isn't his usual state, maybe again due to the lack of drugs he's seeking, or because he's beginning to wonder if this life he leads is a true depiction of the person he is or wants to be anymore.
I have become comfortably numb.
This is a straightforward explanation of how he feels. He is comfortably numb, can't feel anything physically or emotionally, and is totally disconnected from everyone else around him, and perhaps even disconnected from his old childhood self he alludes to in the song.
Okay, just a little pinprick
There'll be no more AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up? I do believe it's working good that'll keep you going for the show, come on it's time to go
I agree that this is the point where Pink gets his fix of drugs, I am more inclined to say opiates because the "sick" could refer to the nauseous feeling opiates often cause.
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse Out of the corner of my eye I turned to look but it was gone I cannot put my finger on it now The child is grown, the dream is gone
I think this is another reference to a childhood memory. He had a dream then, but has lost sight of it now, and cannot figure out how he went from who he was then and who he is now, and may be implying a desire to regress back to that time and see where he began to disconnect and lose sight of things, where he changed, looking for the missing link between his former self and his present self
anonymous Nov 13th 2008, 20:49 report
It is about Syd Barret on drugs. My dad was security for Pink Floyd about 5 times.
anonymous Oct 25th 2008, 14:11 report
If anyone has read "Saucerful of Secrets" they will know, the song has nothing to do with "Pink" or heroin. I don't recall who, however the song is about one of the band members being sick before the show. The doctor gave him morphine in order to numb him of the pain. He lost feeling of his hands, but continued to play his guitar, and he completed the show. No heroin, no Pink.
anonymous Sep 27th 2008, 17:46 report
I think the song is about how drugs can distance you from the world and all the people within in.
It explains how you can be almost depressed and a few minutes later near to maniacal, due to the drug use.
In the song there is a first phase in which the stuff isn't not working at its full capacity and the main character is just fading waying further and further. You can hear this as well by the guitar sound and the rhythm, first its's slow and darker then the rest of the song.
Suddenly, the chorus starts. Here, the person is completely high. You hear an optimistic, happy sound which is in contrast with the intro, because he's now completely in his own psychedelic world in a state of perfect happiness.
For me, the whole song just describes the influence of drugs and the reason to do it.
anonymous Sep 17th 2008, 00:35 report
This might sound weird but whenever I hear this song I imagine like a serial killer singing it to someone he's "operating" on. like something in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Just listen to the song and play the scenario and I swear it's creepy.
anonymous Aug 10th 2008, 14:54 report
Don't look at this song as an individual track. It is part of the album "The Wall", which tells the story of Pink. Comfortably Numb tells of Pink collapsing in his room before a show, and how the doctor treated him. It could be that Pink had symptoms similar to those of diabetes (a sickness Waters too has).
It may be about Waters and what he went through because of the sickness, but this is shown through Pink's experiences.
DarkHarmonik Jun 18th 2008, 19:03 report
The song in my perspective doesn't lead me to believe it's about drugs or heroin; it only revolves around the fact of why he had become "comfortably numb". In that matter Roger Waters was mentioning his past,"There is no pain you are receding" If you define the word recede you find that it means to retreat or withdraw. Well, Roger was receding to many things:1. His childhood (growing up with no dad),2. His love life( ex girlfriend),3. most important the "BRICK WALL" which incidentally grew around him as a person. Next point you have to think of is the verse "when I was a child I had a fever... my hands felt just like two balloons." Then he states "NOW I HAVE THAT FEELING ONCE AGAIN." I can't explain you would not understand.. This is not how I am. Also the "fleeting glimpse he caught" he turned to look but it was gone. I cannot put my finger on it now. The child is grown.. The DREAM is gone.
Roger Waters is trying to escape the reality of his depression because it takes the pain away. (I have become comfortably numb)
_ Zack Mele
MeowKittens73 Jun 14th 2008, 02:39 report
Ok, not that anyone will ever read this, since, I'm on the fourth page but, from personal experience, I would say this song is about cocaine, and not heroin. Which I will explain! Yeah, yeah, heroin and opiates make you nauseous-> ONLY WHEN YOU DON"T HAVE A TOLERANCE! After doing it for a while, you don't get sick, you get high. So, judging from other songs they've written, I'd say it was not likely his first time doing heroin in 1979 since they had been together since, at least, 1964. That's a whole fifteen years to be doing drugs, when they were most commonly used. Still, don't buy it? Here's the nitty gritty:
"Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again." - Heroin would be less likely to get him on his feet again as cocaine.
"You are only coming through in waves." - After a good shot of coke your ears vibrate and every thing sounds and looks wavy. Like the waves from skipping stones on a stream.
"When I was a child I had a fever" - He makes a constant reference to not only drugs but a childhood memory. Either way, ou sweat bullets after a shot of coke, whether it's 80 degrees or 10 below.
"My hands felt just like two balloons" - After a good shot, you feel real light and floaty. Sounds similar the the description of smoking crack. But, I wouldn't know about that.
"I have become comfortably numb" - While doing cocaine, it is known to cause numbness in the sinus cavities. What is not so commonly known is that, when intravenously injecting cocaine, if you have the needle even just slightly out of the vein, or inject to fast, so some leaks out of the vein, it will cause a numbness around the injection sight, up to the skin.
"But you may feel a little sick." - This quote, which the opiate believers think is in reference to heroin, are clearly mistaken. As I've said, all opiates cause nausea only to those without a tolerance. Any one who's been doing it for a while, or born with a tolerance (yes, it is possible. I.E.- Mother abused of prescribed to and opiate during pregnancy, or, more likely, a history of opiate use in family blood. Just like alcoholics. They get a head start in the fun!) Al though, cocaine, after a rather enjoyable injection, since it is an upper (slang term for a drug that has side effects of increased energy and excitability)no matter how long you've been doing it, it can cause the stomach to get upset for the rush of adrenaline. Also, the heightened state of awareness can create anxiety which can also make one nauseous.
**ALSO - Keep in mind that, since they were a band, we do not know who specifically wrote what**
Example- Richard Wright was kicked out of the band in 79' (The year this song was released)
In the movie, when this song is played, Pink is
So, in conclusion, there are many ways to interpret this song but the basic references are to drugs and a childhood memory. The childhood memory is constantly changed by Roger Waters, yet he negates the drug reference. I, personally, don't believe him.
anonymous Jun 11th 2008, 09:10 report
I agree with one of the first writers. This song along with others is about Syd Barret, (a former member), and how he used acid one to many times. With that said I don't know if it is true but I have heard the rumor that The Wall album is based on a majority of Barret's life.
doug111387 May 29th 2008, 09:59 report
Like the rest of the songs on the album, "Comfortably Numb" tells a part of the story of Pink, the album's protagonist. Pink, feeling completely isolated from society, cannot stand the pressures of life as a rock star and collapses in his hotel room before leaving for his concert. A doctor is sent into the room and gives Pink an injection that gives him the energy he needs to perform. The lyrics are written as a conversation, with Waters voicing the doctor and Gilmour voicing Pink.
anonymous May 27th 2008, 17:40 report
This song really has a double meaning.
The first meaning is, in fact, about Syd Barrett.
Anyone that knows of his story will agree, anyone that does not sure look it up because it's way too deep for me to explain.
This is not only about Syd's musical career, but about his life in general.
If you doubt me, just pay attention to the movie. Syd shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows. As did Pink in the film.
Over time, Syd had grown to the point where he didn't enjoy playing anymore. He was withdrawn from the band, his family, his friends, and the world. This is where the comfortably numb part comes from. He was in a state of just being. No emotion towards the music. Just doing it.
The other meaning is from Roger Waters' experience when he was injected with tranquillizers for hepatitis by a doctor prior to playing a Pink Floyd show in Philadelphia.
That experience gave Waters the inspiration for the song. But there is no denying that this song has to do with Syd as well.
anonymous Apr 26th 2008, 23:30 report
My favorite Floyd song. I read the Wikipedia interpretation of the song as well.I like the diabetes interpretation offered here. Regardless, I still think it was about heroin.There seems to be so much symbolism in the song, it is really difficult to decipher. Life passed him by, just as when he was a child when he saw a fleeting speck from the corner of his eye, so he grew up and did heroin to recapture life and became numb to it all. That the doctor gave him a shot to ready him for the show just seems too concrete and obvious. In any case, whenever I listen to the song, and I find I will play loud, over and over again while I am driving, I have gotten lost on many occasions. It seems to move you in a way that no drugs are needed. The song does it naturally, that is it shifts you to the right brain hemisphere, where drugs take you. I beleive the song itself is the little pin prick or shot.
anonymous Apr 22nd 2008, 14:14 report
Though the song may be interpreted to be about drugs. The truth is that Syd never ment it to seem that way and he is actually telling of a time when he was a child and greatly sick as thought to be numb to himself and the world.
anonymous Apr 13th 2008, 23:55 report
This song has nothing to do with drugs, in fact besides the bassist Syd Barret, Pink Floyd used less drugs than most band in the sixties and seventies. The song is about becoming numb to ones surroundings.
anonymous Apr 5th 2008, 20:55 report
I believe the song refers to Syd Barrett's decent into madness. It describes some kind of doctor, perhaps a psychologist, trying to get through to him. The phrase, "YOUR LIPS MOVE BUT I CAN'T HEAR WHAT YOU'RE SAYIN'" sounds to me as though Syd's lips are literally moving in a conversation with someone that lives in his own world. I'm assuming after some traumatic childhood experience he began to slip into a make believe world, further enhanced by drug use. Anyway, because Syd is too deep into insanity he cannot respond. The shrink gives him a quick fix drug like heroine or morphine so he can at least perform. Syd performs yet again, although he slips further and further into a "comfortably numb" world where he can turn his back to the unforgiving world. His innocent childhood, his last salvation, is more of a rock for him to lean on.
anonymous Feb 13th 2008, 20:37 report
This song is about one of the band member's disease. I mean, don't take this into drugs, which obviously, so of you know a lot about. So do yourselves a favor and stop watching the wizard of oz and listening to dark side of the moon.
anonymous Jan 23rd 2008, 08:20 report
Reading through this thread.
It is my all time favourite song.
I have become comfortable numb after all these years with people saying it's about drugs.
As above watch the movie:
To me it is about accepting YOUR life as you think it should be. THEN waking up and realising that it not as you want it to be. The MEDICS (little pin prick) are the money makers sucking the life out of you. This can mean life in general.
(going through the show) - well ..... That's life.
Waters and Rogers argued over which version to release of this song.
My understanding is that Rogers was suffering from an illness when it came to releasing The Wall. Hepatitis was mentioned.
Whatever: the show must go on.
And it still is ;-)
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