Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Daydreaming" by Radiohead

I am completely blown away by this incredible track, "Daydreaming," from the phenomenal new Radiohead release, "A Moon Shaped Pool."

I was having a rather deep conversation with a good, sympatico friend recently and we both agreed that, what with the entire spectrum of life around us, we both live our lives on the verge of tears most of the time. I mean, just look around at it all--really look, and when you do that, you can't help but feel it and have it touch you. And this song and accompanying video literally made me break down. It has been a little while since a song or video or film or book took me to "that" place (maybe last when I saw Malick's "The Tree of Life" a few years ago, previously here?). But this did it. And where to start?

First of all, Radiohead has the capability of translating the bittersweet sound of how I see the universe into music. From the very first warped tinkling seconds, I was hooked, but of course what slays me is the lulling, tender piano line, both compassionately sweet and despairing. (Compassionate because of the despair?) Thom Yorke's voice, a keening falsetto, has always been a miraculous instrument of supreme emotion for me (as though he too lives his life on the verge of tears) and here, his first words are devastating: "Dreamers/ They never learn/ Beyond the point/ of no return." The lyrics and music are both enigmatic, penetrating...almost holy. Listen.

But the visuals, equally enigmatic, were directed by the phenomenal auteur Paul Thomas Anderson who wrote and directed one of my favorite films, the gripping, exhausting "Magnolia." It's quite telling that we start this completely dream-like journey in a basement (look at the others in the background starting their own private journeys as well). Thom Yorke intently searches through buildings, houses, landscapes for... something... wandering through so much life...so much life that it's heartbreaking (contemplate the meaning and essence of each of these places). It is beyond poignant that he is shown mostly entering into houses...coming home as it were. But at around the 2:20 mark his trajectory importantly turns upward as we see him in elevators and climbing stairs until he returns, in a scene of exquisite Jungian archetypal meaning, to some primal place...a source, a place of beginning, or hibernation deep in the earth while the last puzzling lines of the song play distorted, backward and forward at once.

Just mind boggling and utterly profound.
And no, we don't learn, do we...

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

And it's too late
The damage is done
The damage is done

This goes
Beyond me
Beyond you
The white room
By window
Where the sun goes

We are
Just happy to serve
Just happy to serve


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