Daydreaming

Album: A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)
Charted: 74

Songfacts®:

  • This eerie, gently insistent piano ballad finds Thom Yorke lamenting his split from longterm partner Rachel Owen.

    Dreamers
    They never learn
    They never learn
    Beyond the point
    Of no return


    Daydreamers like Yorke can become disconnected and blind to other people's needs. He laments on this song that because of his his tendency to retreat to an inner world, the relationship has deteriorated, "beyond the point of no return", and it's "too late, the damage is done."
  • The outro is comprised of slowed down backward vocals, in which Yorke sings, "Half of my life." This is a reference to the Radiohead frontman having spent half his life with Rachel Owen. They began dating in the early 1990s when they were both at Exeter University and split 23 years later when Yorke was 46.
  • The music video was directed by filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood has scored several of Anderson's films including Inherent Vice, The Master and There Will Be Blood.
  • Radiohead used London Contemporary Orchestra's strings in an unusual way in this song. "At the end of 'Daydreaming' I got the cellos to all tune their bottom strings down about a fifth [of an octave] but then still try to play the music," guitarist Jonny Greenwood told BBC 6 Music's Matt Everitt. "So you can hear them struggling to stay in tune and you have the low growl sound."

    "You want to use strings in a way that isn't just pastiche and that can be hard to avoid," he added. "That was fun, trying to square that circle."
  • The song came quite early in the process at La Fabrique studios in France, where the bulk of A Moon Shaped Pool was recorded. "It was the equivalent of when we did 'Everything in its Right Place' (The opener on Kid A)," Yorke told Q magazine. "We got that and then we were, 'Right, OK, this is it.'"

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