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The Meaning Behind The Song: Comfortably Numb by Van Morrison

The Meaning Behind The Song: Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd


As a Music Technician, I have always been fascinated by the power of music to evoke emotions and touch our souls. One song that has left a lasting impact on me is “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. I remember stumbling upon this song at a friend’s house, and from the first note, I was captivated. The lyrics, written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters, combined with the mesmerizing guitar solos, create a haunting and introspective experience.

The Lyrics

The opening lines of the song immediately draw you in and set the tone for the introspective journey that follows. Roger Waters asks, “Hello? Is there anybody in there?”, expressing a desire for connection and understanding. He then implores the listener to nod if they can hear him, questioning if anyone is truly present and engaged in their own lives.

The chorus, featuring Van Morrison’s powerful vocals, portrays a sense of detachment and isolation. “There is no pain you are receding, a distant ship, smoke on the horizon.” These lyrics suggest a feeling of detachment from reality, where the world becomes distant and blurry. The lines, “Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying,” symbolize a loss of communication and a disconnection from others.

Waters delves into his own childhood experiences in the second verse. “When I was a child, I had a fever, my hands felt just like two balloons.” These lyrics evoke a sense of vulnerability and surrealism, capturing the confusion and disorientation of a feverish state. The repetition of “I have become comfortably numb” throughout the song implies the acceptance and resignation to this detached state.

The Message

“Comfortably Numb” is often interpreted as a commentary on the emotional numbness and detachment that can exist within all of us. It explores the idea of wanting to disconnect from the overwhelming realities of life, seeking solace in a state of numbness. It is a poignant exploration of the human condition, where the pressures of existence can lead us to retreat into emotional detachment.

Personally, I resonate with the song’s theme of detachment and yearning for connection. There have been moments in my own life where I have felt emotionally numb, detached from the world around me. “Comfortably Numb” serves as a reminder that while it may provide temporary relief, embracing emotional detachment can also hinder our ability to truly experience life and form meaningful connections.

The Wall – Live in Berlin

“Comfortably Numb” gained renewed attention when it was performed as part of Pink Floyd’s iconic album “The Wall – Live in Berlin” in 1990. Featuring The Band, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Roger Waters, this live rendition added new layers of depth to an already emotionally charged song. The inclusion of additional musicians and the grandeur of an orchestral arrangement heightened the song’s impact, further emphasizing the nuances of its lyrics.


“Comfortably Numb” is a timeless masterpiece that delves into the complexity of our emotions and the human desire for connection. Its haunting lyrics and mesmerizing guitar solos are a testament to the power of music to touch our souls. This song serves as a reminder to stay present, actively engage with our own emotions, and seek genuine connection in a world that can often leave us feeling comfortably numb.

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