If the data visualization below is to believed, pop music of the 2010s is just as vulgar and nihilistic as your stodgy parents say it is: the decade's most distinctive musical words are evidently "we," "yeah," "fuck," "hell," and "die."
The chart, compiled by data-viz blogger David Taylor for his site Prooffreader, uses a database of Billboard hits to find the words that are most unique to popular song titles of every decade since 1890. Crucially—like the map of most distinctive musicians for each U.S. state that went crazy viral earlier this year—Taylor's analysis does not purport to show the most popular words in song titles, because that would likely fill it with boring words like "the," "and," and "is" for every decade. Instead, using a metric called "keyness" that Taylor lays out at length in a follow-up post, it shows words that were disproportionately common in each ten-year chunk.
Taylor's follow-up post also gives the most popular songs whose titles contain each decade's key words: you might remember "Die" from Kesha's "Die Young," for instance, or "Fuck" from Cee-Lo's "Fuck You."
The full list (click to expand):
If you were a boring jerk, you could use Taylor's findings to make some hackneyed point about the decline of popular culture—from "baby" and "twist" in the 1960s to "thang" in the '90s and "fuck" and "die" now. Instead, let's marvel at the rich spectrum of language on display. Who knew "Uncle" and "Casey" were so popular a century ago?