What does Comfortably Numb mean?

Search Login

Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb Meaning

Song Released: 1980

Get "Comfortably Numb" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

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.
Just the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 9th 2012 report

    To me, the entire song can be summed up by the title alone. He has become "comfortably numb". This man has been pushed to the point where his physical state has succumbed to his emotional pain and he can no longer differentiate between the two. He'd rather feel nothing at all, be numb, than be in a constant state of agony, of darkness. The verse "When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye" is also important because there is no greater symbol of hope than our youth. Children are pure and innocent, in their eyes the world is an amazing place where possibilities are endless. They have yet to be tainted by failure or loneliness. He caught a "fleeting glimpse" of this happiness, this sense of fulfillment within himself. But as we grow older, with each passing year this hope seems to diminish leaving only pain, regret, and disappointment in it's stead. Drug addicts are addicts for a reason, because they feel they are out of options. They no longer wish for happiness, it is incomprehensible, so they settle for just being "numb". It's really very sad. He is trying to tell us why he needs this why he needs to just not feel anymore.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 7th 2012 report

    great thing about great music is you can interpret it anyway your mind takes you. who cares what it's really about all that matters is how you see it and how it moves you


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    May 3rd 2006 report

    This is my interpretation of the song, broken down verse by verse or line by line as appropriate.

    Hello... Is there anybody in there?
    Just nod if you can hear me
    Is there anyone home?

    Someone, probably a doctor, is talking to Pink (perhaps a reference to Syd Barrett's descent into insanity, but probably a reference to the fact that Pink is in a semi-catatonic state and is withdrawing from the world.)

    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?

    Pretty self explanatory - he isn't responsive, they are going to shoot him up with a drug to get him to the point where he (Pink) is capable of performing

    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 paragraph refers to Pink's state of mind - he isn't feeling pain, the world around him is becoming more distant, more hazy, less real as Pink withdraws farther from the real world. The reference to the ship smoke is simply a poetic reference to the way Pink is viewing the "real" world - it is drifting away from him.

    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.

    This paragraph seems to be, first, a reference to what many of us probably remember from childhood - being sick with a high fever your head and body can start to feel hollow, for lack of a better term. It feels almost like a dissociative experience. Sometimes when I am in a position of EXTREME stress that same feeling overcomes me. Pink is making a reference to the fact that he is feeling disassociated with the world yet that really isn't who he is - the constant pressures of stardom have changed him.

    I have become comfortably numb.

    His state of withdrawal has made him numb to the world.

    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

    Nothing more than a reference to the fact that the doctors/concert producers/etc. don't give a f*** about the performer, they just want to get him on stage.

    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

    This one leaves me a little puzzled. The best interpretation I have is that when Waters was a child, he experienced a fleeting glimpse of the promise and happiness of life - but his father was killed in the war, stripping Waters of the innocence and happiness of childhood before Waters had a chance to experience it. Now he is a jaded adult, the innocence of youth is gone and was never really experienced, the dreams he had as a youth are gone - and to escape this rather tragic reality, he has withdrawn into a semi-catatonic state where he does not have to face reality.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 19th 2020 report

    I do see the reference to drugs, could be true. But did anyone think of when you were young and a parent took you to get the vaccinations they made you inject. I was terrible sick afterwards, with a crazy fever, thought I was going to die. Literally I remember hallucinating and terrified out of my mind. It seems like he's describing how I felt, It was one of my earliest memories as a child. And it traumatized me to the core. I still remember laying there alone crying and things getting bigger and smaller. And then It takes away your dreams, your purity , your life is changed . That's how I felt listening to this song.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 2nd 2019 report

    I think "A distant smoke on the horizon" is a representation of hope. As a sailor adrift at sea alone, another ship would mean a relief.

    As for "when I was a child, I caught a a fleeting glimpse" Refers to, I believe, is leaving the state of dread and he is now seeing the "fleeting glimpse" again and he is trying to describing how it feels to come back to hope. (seeing a distant ship on the horizon)

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 1st 2018 report

    You all are stupid...with all respect.
    When I was in the military I have extreme migraines they gave me a drug called Midrin it made me so numb that my hands felt like two BALLOONS (weightless) I had to fight to keep them on the bed, they kept floating up. That is the same feeling as when you have a high fever.

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 8th 2018 report

    Obviously, drugs are a part of this but there is such a deeper meaning to it. I feel like it's a conversation between his inner and outer self. His outer self is trying to reach out to the inner self, trying to get him to join reality. But his inner self responds by saying he feels no pain, and his outer self is receding. As in Water's is pulling farther and farther away from the world. The wall is becoming stronger and he is becoming more and more oblivious to life. The title Comfortably Numb comes from the fact that he is okay with being numb from the emotions of the world.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 9th 2016 report

    After reading the other posts I have a different point of view. I thought it was a drug related song as Pink Floyd was music to party by and yes we did. I have changed my ways but still respect the group. Their concerts were always different and entertaining. I was also led to believe that many of their songs were a tribute to Syd Barrett as he was a key player in the group (wish you were here, have a cigar, etc.)

  9. ezeo22790
    click a star to vote
    Jun 6th 2016 report

    I agree with the top rated but I believe that

    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 believe that symbolizes the dreams he had as a child but he took his eye off of them due to the realization that he would never become what he dreamed of due to what his mother raised him to be, afraid of the world and not willing to make his dreams come true, hence the wall in his mind blocking him from being able to respond to other people and be social because when his mother left him she made a wall in his brain that just creates negativity and frown upon the world, the thought that nothing in world would be fun or happy, he does not even know fun or happy anymore.

  10. kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    Feb 13th 2016 report

    Another great song by PINK FLOYD with a thought of SYD BARRETT fading away from the band into HIS OWN UNIVERSE. Where, ''THERE IS NO PAIN,YOU ARE RECEDING''- ''A DISTANT SHIP SMOKE ON THE HORIZON''- ''YOU ARE COMING THROUGH IN WAVES'' All this to combine the individual here, when also feeling sick with a high fever that feels he is being pulled and stretched into his own mind on ''THE GRAVITATIONAL WAVE'' to be one with God. Where there is no more pain to feel on the inside and the ''one'' that comes from the outside world to just become ''Comfortably Numb'' to it while reaching a nirvana state of mind that's one with God.

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 16th 2015 report

    "You are only coming through in waves" Quantum physics, holographic universe, anyone? "Distant ship smoke on the horizon", flat Earth? "When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse.." (reality?) "I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream (reality) is gone!" Maybe these guys were onto something. We are all in the f*cking Matrix, and some of us are waking up. Then again, I'm just a nutty conspiracy theorist, so what do I know?

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 6th 2013 report

    In my opinion i think that this song talks about a loneliness that leads to taking drugs and feeling a great depression. It talks about someone who is sick from his life and got no hope at all; despondence fulfills his life that no one in the world and not even the greatest DOCTOR is gonna be able to cure him "there is no pain you are receding".
    No one is giving him the hope in life and they are too far from understanding his needs"a distant ship's smoking on the horizon" and no matter what they say, nothing is making sense to him because they just cant understand what he wants"your lips move but i cant hear what you're saying". In addition all of his hope in life was destroyed when he was a child.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 3rd 2013 report

    I think its about growing up. He was scared as a kid. But now he's grown up the child is gone.The dream is gone because he's the now living it.And now comfortably numb nothing can hurt him anymore and he's not scared.Everything in his life turned out OK

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 16th 2012 report

    They were doing a show in philly, he was in ton of pain. Doc gave him a shot to get him thru and that's where the song came from. No over thinking needed.

  15. alpha
    click a star to vote
    Jul 6th 2012 report

    To the idiot who criticised those of us who think the song is about heroin, you should find someone to teach you how to spell.
    To the poster who thinks this song is about morphine, as opposed to heroin, heroin turns into morphine the second it is injected into your body.
    This song is most likely about heroin, although the band will never admit this.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 29th 2012 report

    I actually think it's obvious it is about drugs. I think you all know that though, so that was kind of pointless. But he's so called "comfortably numb", so he is on drugs and has become numb.....well, I'm kind of not 100% sure.

  17. DrGreg
    click a star to vote
    May 4th 2012 report

    There was a time when meadow, grove and stream,
    The earth, and every common sight
    To me did seem
    Apparelled in celestial light
    The glory and the freshness of a dream.
    It is not now as it hath been of yore, -
    Turn whereso'er I may,
    By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

    Wordsworth said it first.

  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 28th 2011 report

    This isn't about heroin, for Gosh's sake. It's about how the events in his life have made him numb to his surroundings. I think that's it. Sometimes, this album can be too intense for me to understand it fully.

‹ prev 123456789

More Pink Floyd song meanings »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

UH OH! anonymous
Made anonymous
I Like It, I Love It anonymous
Me And My Broken Heart anonymous
Smells Like Teen Spirit anonymous
After Midnight (Death Squad) anonymous
Both Sides of the Story anonymous
Laid to Rest anonymous
Ball of Fire anonymous
Fake anonymous
Cover Me Up anonymous
Dollhouse anonymous
Doin' Time anonymous
Diet Mountain Dew anonymous
You Could Be Mine anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Free Mind
Vette Motors
YoungBoy Never Broke Again
John Rich
You Can Have Him Jolene
Chapel Hart
That's What Tequila Does
Jason Aldean
Y'all Life
Walker Hayes
Miranda Lambert
Steve Lacy