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The primary purpose of speaking and writing is to sound as cool as possible at all times, and now a data scientist has given us the specific keywords we need to impress our peers, no matter where we are. In a post on Degenerate State, the scientist took the lyrics off DarkLyrics.com,“the largest metal lyrics archive on the web,” from a database of 222,623 songs by 7,634 bands to analyze the most and least metal words. Comparing the DarkLyrics data with the Brown Corpus—a 1961 collection of English-language documents (no song lyrics) that is “the first of the modern, computer readable, general corpora”—the data scientist found the top 20 most and least metal words. Here’s a sampling:

Top 10 Most Metal Words

  1. burn
  2. cries
  3. veins
  4. eternity
  5. breathe
  6. beast
  7. gonna (presumably as in “going to”)
  8. demons
  9. ashes
  10. soul

Top 10 Least Metal Words

  1. particularly
  2. indicated
  3. secretary
  4. committee
  5. university
  6. relatively
  7. noted
  8. approximately
  9. chairman
  10. employees

Unsurprisingly, if you want to sound metal, all you need to do is evoke the imagery of hell and stay away from square topics like university and employment. So next time you want to show some nerd how badass you are, just start chatting about the demons who burn your soul, the beast within coursing through your veins, the piercing burn of your cries, which eventually will become ashes, et cetera, et cetera.

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[Degenerate State and The Science of Us]