Pink Floyd

Comfortably Numb

Song Review by

"Comfortably Numb"'s importance is multifaceted. Not only is it one of The Wall's most endearing and enchanting songs, but it also involves some remarkable guitar work from David Gilmour, maybe even his best, and a sharing of the vocals from both he and Roger Waters results in the hallucinatory, dreamlike ebb and tide that fluctuates throughout the song's duration. At this point of the album, Pink is unconscious on the floor of his hotel room as a doctor administers drugs to take away all of his senses, leaving him "comfortably numb" in order to perform to the awaiting crowd. But the lyrics stray from the present, back to when Pink was a child and was suffering from a serious fever. This reminiscence of childhood and the comparisons to both sensations, even if they're unpleasant, represents Pink's longing for some nurturing and the simplicity and naïveté of youth. "Comfortably Numb"'s significance is equally as powerful musically as it is lyrically. The song rises and floats superbly, resembling a surreal and faraway state of consciousness thanks to the extended notes that are orchestrated by Gilmour, as well as Freddie Mandell's organ work. Even though the music was written by Gilmour and the bulk of the words from Waters, the two of them work wonderfully together throughout the song, resulting in the most accommodating and synergetic performance from both musicians in the same song than any other. The song also serves as a turning point on the album, as this is where Pink begins to realize in full the ill effects of touring and coping with fame and stardom, which is The Wall's most dominant concept.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Wall 1979 Capitol 6:22
Discovery 2011 Capitol / EMI / EMI Music Distribution 6:22
No Image 2011 Parlophone