What does Comfortably Numb mean?

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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.
Just the...


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    May 3rd, 2006 5:06pm 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.


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    Mar 1st, 2006 3:48am report

    I have to agree with the last Anon, music before the movie and who wouldn't think drugs were involved. But it's not doing drugs for the trip, he needed a push to get on with the show. I also think it is a fading away from reality and a mental withdrawl. He wanted to be numb to the rest of the world and did not want to face it any longer.


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    May 24th, 2006 5:04pm report

    Don't think too much into this song. Roger Waters said in an interview about the song, "I think it's funny how everyone thinks so much about 'comfortably numb'. It was actually all written about a time when I was a child and got a horrible fever. I got rushed to the doctor and after him shining lights in my eyes and making sure I was coherant, he jabbed me with a shot of something. Then I got better."


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    Jun 16th, 6:14pm 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?


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    Jun 6th, 2013 6:03pm 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.


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    Feb 3rd, 2013 2:18pm 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


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    Dec 16th, 2012 12:32pm 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.


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    Aug 9th, 2012 8:21pm 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.


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    Jul 7th, 2012 7:47am 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


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    Jul 6th, 2012 7:13pm 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.


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    Jun 29th, 2012 6:26pm 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.


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    May 4th, 2012 5:02pm 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.


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    Nov 28th, 2011 11:00pm 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.


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    Oct 18th, 2011 10:21pm report

    Heroin use definitely.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 10:45pm report

    a great song has many interpretations. i always liked the way this song made me feel, the tone-painting was excellent. you can't very well write a song that says i went to the doc & he gave an opiate & i vomited. this song was(to me)a lament, if not his then at least my own.


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    Sep 1st, 2011 9:45am report

    umm. im in recovery from a bad heroin addiction. i thnk the song is def bot sum form of opiate. comfortably numb is def how u feel on heroin or morphine. "u may feel a lil sick" def get ur stomach upset espeacialy ur first few times. "thier is no pain" yea ur def not feelin any pain. sum of the lyrics are him rememberi times from his child hood. he had a bad fever and his hands sweeled up maybe the drugs r takin him back to his childhood. "a lil pinprick thier is no more... ahhh." the rush from opiates is almost instant. "is there anybody in there?" is there anybody home?" u do "nod off" wen u do herion or other iv opiates. i have ppl ask me the same question wen i was in that state. reciedin? cause the higher u get the more u seem to fall out of reality. just a guess guys. i read the part were he brought up the childhoo fever part,

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Aug 4th, 2011 8:22am report

    People, music isnt about proving people wrong. a song belong to whomever it pertains to. if one wants to interpert it in one way, and it means something to them, then they are no more right or wrong than someone else who interperts it a different way. make what you want of this, or any other song, and as long as it reaches out to you, who gives a shit if someone tells you your right or wrong. thats what many dont understnad. stop going to sites about wht songs mean and find you own meaning in them.


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    Jul 31st, 2011 7:04am report

    it's about being abducted by a fucking UFO! you simple minded humans

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