This song is about falling in love, and how one event can change your whole life. One slip is all it takes.
It is not ultimately about sex or love, but about unintended consequences. In the song, a man spots a woman across the room. Their eyes meet, and soon they are both giving in to sexual impulses. A pregnancy results, as is subtly implied with the words "soon the seeds were sewn" and "the year grew late," as well as by the sound effects at the beginning of the song which are a metaphor for sperm trying and then contacting the ovum.
The album title came from a line in this song:
One slip, and down the hole we fall
It seems to take no time at all
A momentary lapse of reason
The "momentary lapse of reason" is a reckless sexual indulgence, without protection, which "binds a life to a life" via the unplanned child. We know that "neither one wanted to remain alone" as the pregnancy progressed, which implies that if the pregnancy was unplanned, at least the man involved was ready to take responsibility.
Dave Gilmour wrote this song with Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. Working with different collaborators seemed to bring out different sides of Gilmour's personality, which was reflected in the lyrics.
On the previous Pink Floyd album, The Final Cut (1983), his bandmate/nemesis Roger Waters wrote all the songs. Those sessions were so divisive, the band called it quits after the album was released. Gilmour regrouped Pink Floyd in 1986 over Waters' objections, starting work on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Manzanera was one of the new contributors who helped the group move forward with the album, which proved very successful and helped the band launch their first tour without Waters.
In the UK, this was used as the B-side of the "Learning To Fly" single, and later given its own release as an A-side, reaching #50. It was not released as a single in America.
This song opens with the sound of the alarm on Dave Gimour's houseboat studio, where it was recorded in his floating studio. Appearing on the Floydian Slip
TV show, sound engineer Andy Jackson explained that the alarms were triggered when he entered an incorrect code into the security system.
Ryan - Largo, FL
Rejected titles for the album include Delusions Of Maturity, Signs Of Life, and Of Promises Broken.