This story is part of the book:Mama Mia Let Me Go! A journey through the most intriguing lyrics & stories in rock music


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A request breaks the silence.

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HelloIs there anybody in there?

In this way, almost as a whisper,Comfortably Numbbegins: a wonderful poem about loneliness and the need for meanings.

Comfortably Numb, one of Pink Floyd’s most beloved songs,fromThe Wall(1979), with its melody & music by David Gilmour & lyrics by Roger Waters, describes a state of loss: the protagonist is someone who is anaesthetised before coming on stage.

I hear you’re feeling downWell I can ease your painGet you on your feet again

Can you show me where it hurts?

In an interview released in the 80s, Waters said that much of the song comes from something that really happened one evening when, in order khổng lồ allow him to lớn perform in Philadelphia, the doctor gave him a sedative for a severe stomach ache, which had probably caused by nerves. On the stage, his hands were numb and his vision blurred, but none of this derailed the crowd, who continued to dance & sing. & it was out of this that one of the main themes ofThe Wall came about: the disconnect between the public và the band.

“That was the longest two hours of my life, trying to bởi vì a show when you can hardly lift your arm.”

Roger Waters

There is no pain, you are recedingA distant ships smoke on the horizon

You are only coming through in wavesYour lips move but I can’t hear what you’re sayin’

I can’t hear what you’re saying: there’s that distance again, mentioned in the chorus.

You have taken away my pain, you have anaesthetised me, but you haven’t made me happy. These are lyrics written with the acute awareness of themelancholy that we experience sometimes, late at night. This song has a very clear vision, carved out of pain & the will to survive.

When I was a child I had a feverMy hands felt just lượt thích two balloons

Now I got that feeling once again

I can’t explain, you would not understandThis is not how I amI have become comfortably numb

A lack of communication is a form of pain. Because to be alive, to lớn be human, we need others. We don’t need just to lớn be seen, khổng lồ be perceived: we need lớn be listened to.

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Just a little pinprick

Can you stand up?I vì believe its working, goodThat’ll keep you going for the show

Come on, it’s time khổng lồ go

Of course, there could be various interpretations of this. In a metaphorical sense, it could mean that the protagonist has been given a ‘fix’ in order that he can adequately address his life, society and relationships, which have become nothing more than a show khổng lồ him. Society doesn’t care about the effects of drugs, just so long as they serve their purpose.

There’s no pain, but you’re receding. Like a distant ship smoking on the horizon.

As Nicola Randone points out:

“In literature, both the water và the sea symbolise our mind, especially the unexplored depths of the unconscious. <…> The complete disorientation of man with respect to his situation makes him feel unable lớn really express himself and his sensations. That’s why the lyrics say:‘I can’t explain, you would not understand… This is not how I am’

The main theme is the distance between our minds và the perception of reality because of artificial relief. In other words, we may not suffer, but that does not make us alive; escaping from life & its problems actually deprives us of something. This is the meaning of the song: life is out there; I prefer khổng lồ face it and let it hurt me, than thua trận all sense of feeling.

Depression, inComfortably Numb, isjust a grey waiting room, where everything is reminiscent of death. The absence of pain is not happiness. The doctor in the lyrics takes away the pain lớn get the show going, but it doesn’t work. It only increases the distance, và even the voice on the record sounds more distant.

Our society is based on productivity và success, so reducing our pain or màn chơi of humanity lớn achieve positive results is seen as beneficial. But the risk is that we forget that the world of feelings, pain, searching, time for ourselves – even fatigue – represents our whole lives. & it keeps us in touch with reality.

When I was a childI caught a fleeting glimpseOut of the corner of my eyeI turned to lớn look but it was goneI cannot put my finger on it nowThe child is grownThe dream is gone

The second guitar solo in Comfortably Numb was ranked the fourth most beautiful solo in the history of rock according khổng lồ Guitar World magazine. The public, however, had a different take on the matter: In 2006, the British radio station Planet Rock asked listeners lớn vote for the most beautiful solo of all time. Comfortably Numb was the winner.

This story is part of the book:Mama Mia Let Me Go! A journey through the most intriguing lyrics and stories in rock music