Reviews for 2+2=5 LyricsPerformed by Radiohead
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society against individual, does it make radiohead anti-communist? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/14/08
I don't understand why people try complicating a pretty simple concept: society works against individual thought and freedom and there is nothing one person can do about it, it's so much easier to get out of the way and accept it, hide and lay down the tracks for the selfperpetrating motion. This is the exact message of 1984 a very influential book to a lot of people, including me, but why are we fretting about where the inspiration came from, the fact of the matter is, this is an amazing song about a very serious issue. Just listen to the song and, i don't know, start a liberal blog, run for office... whatever, just don't talk to me about positivism and the secret code of the third movement at exactly 2:25. Do you really think that's what the band wanted us to be thinking about while writing this song. Come on!!
Orwell wins in my mind | Reviewer: Joel | 2/8/08
Dostoevsky (who I idolise unrepentantly) wrote in "Notes from Underground" (trans. Constance Garnett) "I admit that twice two makes four is an excellent thing, but if we are to give everything its due, twice two makes five is sometimes a very charming thing too." Although he certainly DID write this before Orwell's "1984" (which is also brilliant) it is a very different usage of a similar device. (AND I might add there is a VAST difference between addition and multiplication) I personally think that any resemblance to Dostoevsky's views in the song are coincidental. It seems to follow Orwell's vision in a multitude of self evident cases. On the other hand I think any references that are oddly close to Dostoevsky's writings it could easily be attributed to Radiohead's usual dash of existential angst and phylisophical outlook on life.
It is often tempting to read to much into Radiohead songs they have the right mix of vagueness and suggestiveness that means you can read ANYTHING into them quite happily. Usually I'm horribly disappointed when I hear their own mediocre reasons for their lyrics (as opposed to the grand celestial symmetry I've attributed to them in my mind) and this time I shan't make the same mistake. Oh by the way a BRILLIANT song either way!
About 2+2=5, George Orwell and Dostoevsky | Reviewer: Gonzalo Kid A | 12/24/07
I’m not an English speaker so sorry if my writing is not very accurate…
First, One thing is four sure, George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was written in 1948,but Notes from underground was written in 1864. So, 2+2=5 is actually an idea created by Dostoyevsky. I’m sure about it.
Second, I love Radiohead (My favourite band) and I love Dostoevsky (my favourite writer). Dostoevsky wrote the book because he thought science will never be able to explain the real nature of human being. The book is also very concern with politics but remember that the author was very against positivism, in fact Dostoevsky made maybe the best critic ever to positivism in Notes from Underground.
Positivism is a philosophy developed by Auguste Comte in XIX. Auguste Comte states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only come from positive affirmation of theories through strict scientific method.Stephen Hawking is a very well known positivist for instance. Comte applied positivism to social life developing a new science, sociology. Dostoevsky criticises strongly sociology because he thought (and I support his ideas though I also believe strongly in science) human feelings can’t never be understood by a scientific mathematical point of view. So he wrote 2+2=5 as a way to indicate that we are not machines. We are homo sapiens (Latin: "wise human" or "knowing human") though we don’t always behave in a rational way. Watch the news…we are quite irrational!. So if science and sociology is rational and the human being are irrational you will never be able to understand humans using an scientific method…that’s it 2+2=5!.
To end up, I haven’t the faintest idea of what was thinking Tom York when he wrote the song but the lyric match very well to Dostoevsky’s book. Could be a coincidence or could be not…you never know.
Peace and love
1984 | Reviewer: elli. | 12/14/07
2+2=5 is not Dostoevsky's idea. George Orwell wrote about that in his book 1984. First of all the book is amazing and everyone should read it. Second of all it talks about 2+2=5. Near the end of the book, the protagonist is being tortured and the man in chargee asks him what 2+2 makes...so the protagonist says 4. Then the man tells him that the government says it makes five (its quite a political book), so the protagonist says it still makes four. The man electrecutes him. The protagonist writes in his diary: freedom is the right to say that 2+2 always makes four.
The book is asking: if someone tells you that 2+2 make 5 and you BELIEVE that 2+2 makes 5...then does that make it true? What really is reality? and does it only exist inside human mind?
The song is based on this idea and this book. Thom Yorke clearly states that in an interview about the song.
I think the song is amazing, as well as the book and it's idea.
2+2=4? | Reviewer: Danielle | 11/25/07
i also read the book notes from the underground and Dostoevsky the author writes about the concept of 2+2=5. everyone knows that 2+2=4, which refers to those things that everyone knows and just accepts... things that we dont question. then he comes up with 2+2=5 and questions it saying why not, why is it 4, and what makes it 4...the things we just accept such as the sky is blue(2+2=4), is put into contrast with the things that we question such as whether love is blind (2+2=5)
2+2=5 | Reviewer: Thomas Hornigold | 10/29/07
An amazing song with a truly intersting and shocking message. People think they can't change the world and withdraw into their own worlds, which they can change "2+2 always makes a five" but when they withdraw they miss their chances to do anything to the world:
It's the devil's way now
There is no way out
You can SCREAM and you can shout
It is too late now
Because they are trapped.
Alternatively it could be read as a way in which society brands people into narrow personalities, narrow identities and eliminates any other path but the few they leave open. People either become conformists or dominators. They have no choice.
This is an amazing song, truly fantastic. Worthy to be listened to by everyone. If you liked this you'll also enjoy Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Notes from underground | Reviewer: jordan | 10/24/07
Fyodor Dostoevsky references the idea of 2x2=5 in his novel "Notes from Underground." The idea is that society binds things to a rigid structure and eliminates free thinking. 2+2=5 and 2x2=5 could be parallel, and 2+2=5 could just be radiohead's rebranding of Dostoevsky's thoughts.
Food for thought: | Reviewer: ThisTemporaryLife | 10/18/07
Pay attention to the song. It has three movements: The first part (Are you suck a dreamer....), the second, (You have not been payin' attention), and the third (I try to sing along/But I get it all wrong). The third movement starts at the 2:25 mark. Check that shit out!
go and tell the king that the sky is falling in | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/26/07
Anyone else think about the CIA and pentagon telling Bush that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when Yorke sings the line, "Oh go and tell the king that the sky is falling in when it's not."
Misheard | Reviewer: Kraken | 9/22/07
Before I saw the lyrics to this I thought the he was saying "you remind me of attrition"-"and attrition" instead of "paying attention". So I thoght this song had to do something with war and misinformation.
..........aBout 2+2=5's song...................... | Reviewer: Yahud | 9/21/07
i love this band,and love this song...radio head always have acrazy idea,and make a perfect song for many people....when you come to my country(indonesia)...radio head make me fell better...thaks
hail to the thief | Reviewer: Kayln | 7/30/07
I have all the Radiohead albums, they've become my favorite band ever since i lissened 2 Pablo Honey while i was tripping one day. Hail to the thief is deffinately my favorite album, 2+2=5 happens to be my favorite song... good music to lay on your bed while your tripping to.. it completely trips me out into another word. weatherim fucked up or not, the music brings an electric glide to my mind and my whole word changes. radiohead makes me feel alive.
Read a Book | Reviewer: Troy | 5/22/07
If any of you have taken up the book 1984 by George Orwell, the song is amazing and sits perfectly right along side the book. Brings a new light to what may be going on now a days in society.
YOU HAVE NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION | Reviewer: alex | 5/10/07
A fantastic start to 'Hailt To The Thief',
the repeated mantra of YOU HAVE NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION strikes like a lightning bolt,& given the rest of the album's content, frenzied derision to all the world it seems for not getting with the picture.You can hear his palpable frustration & disgust for the state of things.
2+2=5 | Reviewer: suzanne | 4/24/07
i love this song, especially the beginning. actually, it seems anything Radiohead does/creates is amazing.
anayway i'm pretty damn sure it's "2 and 2 always makes UP five" (i checked the lyrics booklet from HttT) so.. yeah just thought i'd mention that..
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