42 (song)

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Coldplay - 42.JPG
Song by Coldplay
from the album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
Recorded 2007–2008
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:57
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends track listing
  1. "Life in Technicolor"
  2. "Cemeteries of London"
  3. "'Lost!"
  4. "42"
  5. "Lovers in Japan / Reign of Love"
  6. "Yes"
  7. "Viva la Vida"
  8. "Violet Hill"
  9. "Strawberry Swing"
  10. "Death and All His Friends"

"42" is a song by British 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.[1]

Writing, composition and meaning[edit]

The mysterious title "42" may be related to 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.[citation needed] Many fans were also led to believe that the song was about midlife crisis at the age of 42. The band originally considered this song as the album's first single.

The song is a distinctive for Coldplay as it has no chorus and it's divided into three parts. In a track-by-track analysis, 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." Frontman Chris Martin added, "Although every time we tried we've called it 42, that's about the ninth '42'"[2] Martin also said, in an interview for MTV, that the track was called 42 because it was his "favorite number".[3] Buckland used an ostrich tuning in this song, tuning his guitar to F-F-F-f-f-f.[citation needed]


Chart (2008) Peak
UK Singles Chart[4] 123


Country Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Brazil Platinum[5]


  1. ^ Slender Fungus (1 May 2009). "News – Coldplay to give away live album". Coldplay. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Coldplay Promo Interview on Viva La Vida, Part Three (2008)". YouTube. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  3. ^ Montgomery, James (29 June 2008). "Coldplay Give Track-By-Track Tour of Viva La Vida, Explain Handclaps, Tack Pianos and the Number 42". MTV News. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Chart Log UK 1994–2008". Zobbel. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Certificados" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira de Produtores de Discos. Retrieved 5 April 2014.

External links[edit]