The version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” that appears in the concert film Roger Waters The Wall finds the group’s former singer-songwriter dramatically reinterpreting the song’s lyrics while singer Robbie Wyckoff handles the parts originally sung by David Gilmour. The track, which runs about a minute longer than the original studio recording, will be available on the movie’s soundtrack album, due out Friday.
In an interview with Esquire, which premiered the song, the singer chuckled about the idea that he typically writes dark material. “People say, ‘Why do you write gloomy stuff?’ And I always go, ‘Next!'” he said with a laugh. “Or I go, ‘You don’t get to choose what you paint. If you have a vision, you fucking paint it, and you just be very, very glad that you had a fucking thought that was cogent in some way.'”
He also shared some thoughts on what he felt to be failures in his career, singling out the final record he recorded with Pink Floyd, 1983’s The Final Cut. “There’s some stuff about the production of that album that I think are a bit clunky and heavy-handed,” he said. “I don’t love the drum sound and, if I could do it again, I would be much more naturalistic in terms of the way things are constructed. I would not try to make this thing that has these huge dynamics in it.”
One thing that hasn’t changed for Waters over the years is the general meaning behind The Wall. “The context changes, but the story remains the same,” he told Rolling Stone in September. “If people see this movie, what I hope is that that they may look at one another and go, ‘You know what? We are a community, and we are many. There are a lot of us.'”
The Roger Waters The Wall soundtrack, produced by frequent Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, features concert recordings from around the world on his massive staging of the double-album between 2010 and 2013.