Are you such a dreamer?
To put the world to rights?
I’ll stay home forever
Where two & two always
makes up five

I’ll lay down the tracks
Sandbag & hide
January has April’s showers
And two & two always
makes up five

It’s the devil’s way now
There is no way out
You can scream & you
can shout
It is too late now

You have not been
paying attention

I try to sing along
I get it all wrong
I swat em like flies but
Like flies the burgers
Keep coming back
Maybe not
“All hail to the thief”
“But I am not!”
“Don’t question my authority
or put me in the dock”
Go & tell the king that
The sky is falling in
When it’s not
Maybe not.

(ahh diddums.)



Released: June 2003
Found on: Hail to the Thief

This song was premiered in San Sebastian, Spain on July 31, 2002.

The song’s title 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. The ‘Thought Police’ in the novel coerce self-aware citizens into admitting that two plus two equals five to prove the point that even though two plus two does not logically equal five, logic does not matter when no one else is willing to agree that two plus two equals anything else, under threat of pain or death.

Hail to the Thief lists subtitles, or alternative titles, for each of its songs. The alternative title for “2 + 2 = 5” is “The Lukewarm.”. Thom Yorke has mentioned it as a reference to the works of Dante.

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

The song is made of four sections. The first section is written in 7/8 time and features guitar arpeggios in drop D tuning played by Jonny Greenwood and muted handpops done by Ed O’Brien who picked the strings near the bridge of the guitar. It also features use of drum machine and falsetto sung by Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien in harmony and a faint hi-hat drum beat can be heard.

The second section is written in common time and contains fingerpicked lead guitar by Jonny Greenwood and lightly strummed power chords by Ed O’Brien. It still continues the faint hi-hat pulse but without a drum machine and Thom and Ed O’Brien sing an octave apart with Thom singing in falsetto.

The third section is played more aggressively and Colin Greenwood’s bass guitar and Thom Yorke’s guitar come in. In the third section, Thom shouts and the power chords played are significantly louder. Phil Selway starts playing brutally on the drums rather than just a ticking hi-hat. Jonny still continues his lead guitar part.

The fourth section is based around a rhythmic guitar riff played by Thom, Ed and Jonny and features synthesizers and a brief guitar solo played by Jonny Greenwood. Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien’s singing is a mix of falsetto and aggressive shouting. The song comes to a sudden stop at the ending.