By its very nature, the “Daydreaming” video appears to be allegorical. It can be hazardous to try to intuit the intentions of the artist making a work such as this, but there are clear signifiers, both in the video, and on A Moon Shaped Pool, that hint at a possible broader theme — and a fascinating one at that, because several of the scenes in “Daydreaming” resemble visual elements of Radiohead’s past work: the icy mountains of Kid A, to the grocery store aisles of the “Fake Plastic Trees” video, and the snowy stumble in the clip for “Motion Picture Soundtrack.”
For those so inclined, an enterprising Redditor has taken a deep dive into this idea, surmising that the video shows Yorke walking quite literally through the band’s past, reflecting on moments in his life through the lens of his work. Jonny Greenwood apparently even posted the Reddit theory on his Facebook page, though he stopped short of confirming its veracity, going only so far as to call it “interesting.” It’s also curious that PTA left his long-time cinematographer at home; could it be that Yorke and Co. had specific images in mind that they wanted to recreate?
Our own Tom Hawking took a look at how the content of A Moon Shaped Pool clearly references Yorke’s relationship with his partner of 23 years — which ended last year. And thematically, it’s clear that the album is a retrospective of sorts, revisiting work and ideas from the band’s past, finally committing them to tape. So when Yorke finally finds what he’s looking for in “Daydreaming,” crawling into a mountain cave, curling up by the fire, and chanting “Half my life,” backwards, over and over… it’s hard to take these signifiers as mere coincidence. When someone is half of your life, and you lose them… what do those memories you shared become?