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Which rock bands have the biggest vocabularies?

December 16, 2014

Spoiler: KISS barely use enough words to converse at a basic level.

Last summer, when data scientist Matt Daniels set out to map the vocabularies of rappers, he stumbled upon some staggering findings—like the fact that, in his sampling, 16 rappers had bigger vocabularies than Shakespeare. Still, any casual Def Jux fan could tell you that Aesop Rock was a creative wordsmith—but what kind of vocabulary do rock bands possess? Who should’ve had a place in your high school English classes?

That’s the question Brian Chesley hoped to answer. So he mirrored Daniels’ study, using 10 classic-rock bands—and using a 17,000-word pool for each band, he extrapolated how many unique words each troupe used. His findings were also illuminating: Kiss were by far the least articulate band, and, according to Chesley’s findings, barely used enough words to converse at a basic level. Pink Floyd, esoteric and spacey as they were, had the most varied vocab. And Metallica has a vocab size roughly equivalent to Drake. And, in general, classic rock musicians seem to have a more limited vocabulary than rappers—which, if you think about the verbosity of each genre, makes perfect sense.

Check the photos above to see how each of Chesley’s bands ranked, and check out the full details of the study here. [H/T Consequence of Sound]

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