This is about things not necessarily being as they seem: January having April showers, two and two making a five, the term "hail to the thief" instead of "hail to the chief."
The first sound of the song is Jonny Greenwood plugging in his guitar. It was the very first sound that was recorded when Radiohead went into the studio to record Hail To The Thief.
The name of the album comes from this song. It is a reference to George Bush "stealing" the 2000 US Election.
The intro to this song is in 7/4 time.
There was two versions of this single: one came with "Remyxamatosis" (a remix of Myxamatosis, unsurprisingly) and a demo of "There, There." The second came with "Skttrbrain (Four Tet Remix)" (a remix of Scatterbrain), and "I Will (Los Angeles Version)." Radiohead took to releasing singles on 2 CDs - an EP (Extended Play) disc and a full-length album.
Each track on Hail To The Thief
has an alternate name. The alternate name of this is "The Lukewarm."
rudi - melbourne, Australia, for all above
Almost exactly at 2:25 (2 + 2 = 5), the beat of the song changes into the one the song finishes on.
Josh - Fountain, NC
In an interview with New York magazine, guitarist Ed O'Brien talked about the unusual time signature used in this song: "One of the things that marks our band - that Thom and Jonny used to drive home all the time - is sounding different. You can do it through stuff like using unusual intervals on harmonies [in songs like "2 + 2 = 5"]. The trouble with a lot of rock music is that people are still doing their Beatles and their Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young harmonies. You can't just keep making replications of those things."
According to Q magazine April 2008, this song signposted the album's lyrical themes, a vision of an Orwellian, post 9-11 world where nothing adds up. The vision was inspired by Thom Yorke's compulsive tracking of BBC Radio 4 news bulletins. It was there the singer first heard the phrase "Hail To The Thief," which was originally used to describe 19th century US president, John Quincy Adams.
At the beginning of the song you can faintly hear Jonny Greenwood say "We're on" to which his brother Colin Replies, "That's a nice way to start, Jonny."
alexander - whitby, United Kingdom
The title of the song 2+2=5 is a reference to George Orwell's novel, "1984." In the book, Big Brother was teaching individuals to reject what they once knew to be true. Where 2+2=4, he was teaching them that 2+2=5. This theme correlates to the theme of the song.
Chris - Phoenix, AZ