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Lyrics submitted by SyntaxLies, edited by Paymaan, Mellow_Harsher, TheKidA

2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm) song meanings
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  • +25
    General Comment2+2=5 is a reference that people can be made to believe anything even when the truth is clear. Because of this, some will use this to their advantage to control people. The song is about exploitation of people by those in control through mind control and how people are oblivious to what is going on even when it is very obvious.

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

    A reference to not questioning the common thought, staying home and staying brainwashed instead of stepping outside of ones comfort zone and questioning what they are being told to believe.

    I'll lay down the tracks
    Sandbag and hide
    January has April's showers
    And two and two always makes a five

    A reference to the people working for a caused because they were sold a concept that was not true. They do the bidding and work of those in control which is ultimately leading to their demise.

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

    It's too late, once you realize that you've been lied to and the world becomes a corrupt place it's too late. It's so obvious in hindsight but the people did not notice because they were not..... paying attention

    The very last line, go tell the king that the sky is falling... but maybe it's not.. shows that even when disaster is clear people are still blind to the truth because the reality that exists in their mind is difficult to change after believing in something so much. They are the victim of someone planting a clearly false idea/concept in their head and they struggle to re-invent their reality.
    justin37013on March 24, 2009   Link
  • +8
    General CommentThe song is about Orwell's philosophy that if you lie to people and use that as control that you can make people believe anything, such as 2+2=5. The idea of the song is that the people who are under control feel safe in their lies, and the authority controlling them keeps lying to make them feel safe. The authority figure then changes their ideas from just wanted to get attention, to believing their own lies, as Hitler did. The beginning of the song is about the safety the people feel, the middle is about how the person who is authority doesn't feel like they are getting the attention they deserve even though they have people under such control they feel they need more. The end of the song is about the authority actually believing their own lies and joining those who believe them as well, as in the line "Don't question my authority or put me in the box". The box being the people the figure has control over. Then at the end the lie to "tell the king the sky is falling in" makes the authority figure believe the lies of the impossible because he has succombed to believing they world he made, that is a lie, exists, and believes the imagination of those he created. The entire ending verse is him trying to fight the lies by knowing the truth, and then at the end thinking maybe, instead of knowing they are not.
    Lostcauz707on December 16, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThe title is incorrect. I just checked on my calculator and the answer is 4. Amazing how some mistakes just go unnoticed.
    shamone12on December 20, 2012   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThis song got me on to 1984, it's quite obvious when you read the book through. It seems to allude that we're turning to an Orwellian world. This is basically an essay, so read on if you're interested :P

    In Britain cameras are all over the street, like hidden telescreens. People can be followed by satellites. Sounds like that loss of privacy you see in the book.

    George Bush Jr was being projected over the world in 02/03, promising to avenge 9/11, almost like Big Brother since he has so much indirect influence over the rest of the world, not just over the USA. And I do believe he cheated his position, perhaps his family moving to make a faulty voting system, to continue the royalty. There's a sense we have no control. And if people like Bush can get into the top seat without public approval, we don't have a choice.

    Thom Yorke may be British, but he noticed it's a big sign that the world is heading to an Orwellian dystopia. We need to pay attention. If we don't, a totalitarian government may rise behind the mist unopposed. We may wake up one day and find that thinking against the ruling class is a crime, and find we have Thought Police. Then again, why was John Lennon asassinated when he was a man for world peace and equality? 'Imagine'? ARE YOU SUCH A DREAMER- TO PUT THE WORLD TO RIGHTS? Some people didn't like his criticism of the class system. Think of Goldstein's book in 1984. The ruling class was seeing world peace and equality as something to be avoided. That may be why he was killed, and I think Radiohead referenced this. The first 2 verses are doublethink, with the fear in the mind-control phrase 'TWO AND TWO MAKE FIVE' leaking out the tiniest bit. The sandbags and April showers may be the destruction of the planet by mankind, which may work in favour of the government, keeping the middle and lower class in fear of the end.

    It's the devils way now
    There's no way out
    You can scream and you can shout
    It's too late now

    This is the point beyond no return, where none can stop the new world order, where nothing but the most cataclysmic natural disaster (i.e. dinosaur-like extinction event) will bring it down. Everything after 'paying attention' is the experience in 1984, how it's so hard to keep incriminating thoughts back (Trying to sing along-but like flies the buggers keep coming back). 'But i'm not' is reference to the Ministry of Love. 'You do not exist'.

    'Hail to the thief' is back in 03, where George Bush was loved by so much while he was in a position he probably didn't earn. How a lot of people loved him blindly, thinking it was patriotism. Kinda like Big Brother.

    'Don't question my authority or put me in the box/dock, cause i'm not'

    You can't easily push George Bush from his position until his two terms run out. Of course, Obama's there now. But Thom may have been saying Bush shouldn't be re-elected in 2004, because Bush isn't as decent as he says he is.

    'Go and tell the king that the sky is falling in
    When it's not
    maybe not'
    Potentially a 9/11 reference, but more than likely the asteroid strike that might be the only thing to bring down the Party. I think 'Where I End And You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In)' follows this, about the end of the Party, the end of thought control and the end of Big Brother.
    'X will mark the place, like the parting of the waves, like a house falling into the sea'
    'I will eat you alive' Waves of fire and water, eating up and destroying each Ministry and killing every Party member.
    'There will be no more lies' the end of the Thought Police, end of reality control, and the survivors free to think.
    WillAndWindon April 03, 2012   Link
  • +5
    Lyric CorrectionYorke just repeats "You have not been paying attention" over and over again...

    not sure where you are getting "I needed attention" and "Yeah I love it, the attention" from....
    stovernyon May 13, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this is off the fourth comming album, it may also be a possible title for the new album I'm yet to hear this song but I hope its going to be a good one.
    kid Aon March 08, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment2+2=5 especially, and all the other sort of doublethink at the beginning, alludes to orwell's 1984, in my opinion. I can't really tell what it is he's repeating over and over, it sounds like he's saying "Cuz i'm mad" or "Cuz i'm not". Either way, i agree "hail to the thief" is probably a stab at Bush in particular, and anyone who takes power illegally in general. Lines like "don't question my authority or put me in the box cause i'm (mad/not)" and "going to the king cause the sky is falling down but it's not" seem to reinforce an overall theme about who holds power and consequently who gets to decide what is sane and what is not, much like in orwell's 1984. Thom doesn't seem to trust our elected officials a bit.
    ledzeprulon May 06, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song on a whole is reflecting the whole ideal that ignorance is bliss.

    I stay home forever, where 2 and 2 always makes a 5

    Home is the mind, they stay in their safe zone where they accept everything that is told.

    I lay down the tracks, sandbag and hide

    They go out, work on the outer world then hide from it in their safe area
    The whole ending is saying that they listen because they are afraid of what happens if they don't.

    Just my input.
    CaptainTakoon May 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDAMMIT!

    i thought i was the first person to discover the 2:25 thing in it.
    killcorazonon April 06, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIn the novel 1984 the government controls all media and the expression 2+2=5 is propraganda by the government. The main character in the book clearly knows this is wrong and wishes to rebel against the government. I don't know if this relates to the book.. oh well.
    ToxicFoolon April 20, 2003   Link

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