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Exploring the Secrets of Radiohead's "Daydreaming" Music Video

Filmmaker and video essayist Rishi Kaneria digs into the P.T. Anderson-directed Radiohead video in a new supercut.
Screencaps via the author

Occasionally, some of Reddit’s myriad subreddits function as internet rabbit holes—and the Radiohead subreddit is one of them. Within it are various threads exploring the meaning of the band’s recent “Daydreaming” video. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the video finds Thom Yorke walking in a dreamlike state through a series of doors, seemingly lost, sad, and looking for a place to rest.

Inspired by the Radiohead subreddit threads surrounding “Daydreaming,” filmmaker and video essayist Rishi Kaneria dives into the video’s various possible meanings in a new video. In his video essay, Kaneria explores some of the subreddit theories, then combines them with his own thoughts on the Radiohead video.


One of the first things Kaneria points out is that Thom Yorke walks through 23 doors—the exact number of years he was with his former partner Rachel Owens. While this is most likely symbolic, the next theory is a bit more reaching. In the video, Yorke is dressed in an outfit by fashion designer Rick Owens. Kaneria, or some subredditor, thinks this is an obscure reference to Rachel because of an “uncanny resemblance” in names.

“It’s a coincidence too close not to note,” Kaneria says. “Pair this with the fact that the video was released on Mother’s Day weekend and we now begin to see the content of the rooms in a new light.”

Things get quite a bit more interesting from here. Kaneria points out a procession of references to motherhood, with mothers in almost every scene.

There are also several proposed numerological references to the number 6, ranging from it being an inverted 9 (the number of Radiohead albums) to the video being released May 6th, Mother’s Day weekend. There is also, as Kaneria points out, a heavy emphasis on Mother Nature in the video, with Yorke walking toward an ocean and up to a mountain. Nature is also elsewhere depicted in things like paintings or on wallpaper.

The theories are, as can be expected, a bit obsessive. But that’s not to say that Yorke and Anderson didn’t work to plant conceptual easter eggs in “Daydreaming.” Everything Radiohead does seems to be meticulously planned, so why not a music video by one of cinema’s great storytellers?


Radiohead: The Secrets Of Daydreaming from Rishi Kaneria on Vimeo.

Click here to see more work by Rishi Kaneria, and here to explore the various related subreddits.


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