"42" is a song by alternative rock band Coldplay. It was written by all members of the band for their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The song, divided into three parts, does not have a chorus. The first part is a ballad with piano and strings. It then transforms into an uptempo rock arrangement with a guitar solo. Finally, the song ends with a multi-instrumental part.
A live version of "42" was featured on the band's 2009 live album, LeftRightLeftRightLeft.
The mysterious title "42" may have to do with the fact that there were 42 songs that were trashed during the X&Y recording sessions, or it may be a reference to Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When asked by Q magazine if the song's title was Hitchhiker's-related, Chris Martin said, "It is and it isn't." The band originally considered this song as the album's first single. "42" is a different song on Coldplay's career as it doesn't have a chorus and it's divided into three parts, starting with swirling pianos, then strings and beat loops that eventually build to an uptempo climax. In a track-by-track interview, the guitarist Jonny Buckland revealed: "We've been trying for about two years now to record a song that didn't have any chorus and didn't really have any verses...and '42' was the only time we were able to do it successfully." then frontman Chris Martin added "although everytime we tried we've called it 42, there are about nine '42'" Chris Martin also said in an interview for MTV that the track was called 42 because it was his "favorite number".