2 + 2 = 5 (3:20)

Cover of Hail to the Thief

From Hail to the Thief and 39 other releases

This song was premiered in San Sebastian, Spain on July 31, 2002. The song’s alternative title is “The Lukewarm”.

The song’s title “2 + 2 = 5” recalls the symbol of unreality from George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the book, inhabitants of an authoritarian future state are made to engage in doublethink, replacing their own conscience and beliefs with those imposed from above. At the end of the novel, the protagonist’s individuality is demolished, as he avows that two and two are, in fact, five. The song contains similar inaccuracies including January bringing April showers.

With lyrics like “All hail to the thief, but I’m not” and “Don’t question my authority” there have been repeated suggestions from many musical critics that the song is based on the controversial election of George W. Bush in 2000. The band have strenuously denied this, saying in one interview, “It would be too easy for us to insult George Bush”.

The song reached number 15 on the UK singles chart.

The first part of the song is in a 7/4 time signature, which switches to 4/4 about 1 minute 22 seconds in (after the words “Two and two always makes five…”).

At the beginning of the song, the listener hears guitarist Jonny Greenwood plugging his guitar in and saying “We’re on”, with lead vocalist Thom Yorke replying “That’s a nice way to start, Jonny…”.

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  • M4lu_

    ♥♥♥ where two and two always makes a five ♥♥♥

    29 Jun 1:25am Reply
  • D3licateBalance

    " paying attention, paying attention, paying attention!" People. Penetration? Really?! lol Oh lord.

    13 Jun 3:00pm Reply
  • jpzitoleopold

    penetration

    15 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Athena920

    You mean they're NOT saying "penetration"? <_< Damn. Sure sounds like it.

    7 Jul 2013 Reply
  • jho_tavares

    PENETRATION, PENETRATION EVERYWHERE

    17 Feb 2013 Reply
  • JackTheRipperHi

    PENETRATION PENETRATION!!!!!!!

    15 Dec 2012 Reply
  • sviitrainais

    PENETRATION PENETRATION!!!!!

    15 Nov 2012 Reply
  • sentenza338

    PENETRATION PENETRATION

    6 Nov 2012 Reply
  • mdrnlifeisrbsh

    Gah. Absolute favorite.

    23 Aug 2012 Reply
  • dim3trodon

    I also hear "Penetration, penetration" D:

    4 Jul 2012 Reply
  • thekills1985

    Every Radiohead song is an emotional experience ... brilliant!

    13 May 2012 Reply
  • prime1128

    Paying attention.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • captainyodel

    <3

    28 Feb 2012 Reply
  • obscurecendo

    "That's a nice way to start, Jonny." [2]

    31 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Vermillion666

    i always heard meditation

    22 Dec 2011 Reply
  • AlexMercure

    PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION

    21 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Tiana21_11

    "That's a nice way to start, Jonny."

    29 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Alex_Darkness

    beeeeest

    23 Nov 2011 Reply
  • merwe_ryan

    PENETRATION PENETRATION PENETRATION (I'd swear too!)

    17 Nov 2011 Reply
  • rimel_de_miel

    I am such a dreamer :)

    22 Oct 2011 Reply
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