2 + 2 = 5 (song)

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"2 + 2 = 5"
Radiohead 2+2=5 CD1.jpg
Single by Radiohead
from the album Hail to the Thief
Released17 November 2003
Format
Genre
Length3:21
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)Radiohead
Producer(s)
Radiohead singles chronology
"Go to Sleep"
(2003)
"2 + 2 = 5"
(2003)
"Jigsaw Falling into Place"
(2008)
Audio sample

"2 + 2 = 5" is a song by the English rock band Radiohead, released as the third and final single from their sixth album Hail to the Thief in 2003. The song reached number two on the Canadian Singles Chart, number 12 on the Italian Singles Chart, and number 15 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was premiered in San Sebastian, Spain on 31 July 2002.[1] In 2008, it was featured on Radiohead: The Best Of.

Lyrics and background[edit]

The song's title recalls the symbol of unreality from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.[1] 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.

The phrase 'hail to the thief', from which the album took its name, appears in this song. It is a reference to the song Hail to the Chief, the official anthem of the President of the United States of America. Yorke has said of the album that “I desperately tried not to write anything political ... But it's just fucking there.”[2] The album title is "explicit criticism" of the 2000 election of George W. Bush over Al Gore, despite the latter receiving more of the popular vote.[3][4]

Hail to the Thief lists alternative titles for each of its songs. The alternative title for "2 + 2 = 5" is "The Lukewarm". Singer Thom Yorke has mentioned it as a reference to the works of Dante.[5]

Track listings[edit]

Promotional CD (CDRDJ6623)

  1. "2 + 2 = 5" - 3:21

Promotional 12" (12RDJWL6623)

  1. "Sktterbrain" (Four Tet remix)
  2. "Remyxomatosis" (Cristian Vogel RMX)

CD1 (CDR6623)

  1. "2 + 2 = 5" - 3:21
  2. "Remyxomatosis" (Cristian Vogel RMX) - 5:07
  3. "There There" (first demo) - 7:43

CD2 (CDRS6623)

  1. "2 + 2 = 5" - 3:21
  2. "Skttrbrain" (Four Tet remix) - 4:26
  3. "I Will" (Los Angeles version) - 2:14

DVD (DVDR6623)

  1. "2 + 2 = 5" - 3:21
  2. "Sit Down Stand Up" (Ed Holdsworth's video)
  3. "The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time" (excerpt)

Personnel[edit]

  • Thom Yorke - vocals, guitar
  • Jonny Greenwood - guitar, analogue systems, ondes Martenot
  • Ed O'Brien - guitar, effects, backing vocals
  • Colin Greenwood - bass
  • Philip Selway - drums, percussion

Charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[6] 54
Canada (Nielsen SoundScan)[7] 2
France (SNEP)[8] 64
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 36
Italy (FIMI)[10] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 99
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[12] 26
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 15

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Greenplastic.com Song Information
  2. ^ "40 Bone-Chilling Tracks That Predict A Dark Dystopian Future". NME. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  3. ^ Hegarty, Paul; Halliwell, Martin (2011). Beyond and before: Progressive rock since the 1960s. New York: Continuum. p. 238. ISBN 0826423329.
  4. ^ Levy, Michael. "United States presidential election of 2000". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Thom Yorke on 'Hail To The Thief'". XFM online. Retrieved 29 October 2006.
  6. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  7. ^ "Radiohead Chart History (Canadian Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Lescharts.com – Radiohead – 2+2=5" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Chart Track: Week 47, 2003". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Radiohead – 2+2=5". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Radiohead – 2+2=5" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 December 2018.

External links[edit]