“Daydreaming” is a song by the English rock band Radiohead and produced by Radiohead’s longtime producer Nigel Godrich. It released as download on 6 May 2016 as the second single from their ninth studio album A Moon Shaped Pool, accompanied by a music video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
“Daydreaming” was written by singer Thom Yorke; the rest of the band created the final arrangement. For the song’s introduction, the band slowed the tape, creating a pitch-warping effect. The strings, recorded at RAK Studios in London, were arranged by guitarist Jonny Greenwood and performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Brunt. The orchestra had previously worked with Greenwood on his score for the 2012 film The Master. Cellist Oliver Coates said: “Nigel, Jonny and Thom all have this awesome relationship, and were so animated during the recording. I remember we were laying down the cello part at the end of ‘Daydreaming’ and Thom said, ‘That’s it – that is the sound of the record.'” Greenwood had the cellists tune their cellos unusually low for the song, creating a “growling” sound.
“Daydreaming” is an ambient song with a “simple, sad” piano motif, “spooky” backmasked vocals, and electronic and orchestral elements. The song ends with reversed, warped, and slowed vocals; when reversed, Yorke seems to be singing “Half of my life”, “I’ve found my love”, or “Every minute, half of my love”. Several critics felt the lyrics were coloured by Radiohead singer Thom Yorke’s separation from his partner of 23 years.
The “Daydreaming” music video was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, for whom Greenwood has composed several film scores. In the video, Yorke walks through a series of doors and passageways leading to various disconnected locations, including a hotel, a hospital, a laundry, and a convenience store. He eventually climbs a snowy hill, enters a cave, and mouths the song’s closing words as he lies down next to a fire.
“Daydreaming” was released as a download on 6 May 2016 on Radiohead’s site and on streaming and digital media services. Anderson and the band sent 35 mm prints of the “Daydreaming” music video to select theatres inviting them to screen it. On 16 July 2016, Radiohead announced a fan competition to create a music video vignette for “Daydreaming” using an alternative version of the song with additional strings.