This folksy, reverb-laden song has drawn comparisons to Neil Young. Originally performed in December 2015 by Thom Yorke at the Pathways to Paris concert as 'Silent Spring'.
The title change to 'The Numbers' may have partially been motivated by a desire to adjust the track’s position on the track list while maintaining the album’s alphabetical track order, and pretty clearly asks the world to not give up on reversing climate change.
On 4 Dec 2015 Thom performed two songs at the Pathway to Paris Conference: Desert Island Disk (found earlier on A Moon Shaped Pool) and Silent Spring, which became 'The Numbers'.
When Silent Spring was first performed many contemplated that this could be Thom Yorke’s climate change song (‘Silent Spring’ is a renowned book on climate change and pesticides). He had previously told press that he would never write a song about global warming 'because it would be shit'.