​November brain: Guns N' Roses statistics reveal anatomy of rock

One developer and statistics pro has turned his eye to what makes up the music of Guns N' Roses, proving that when it comes to 80s rock, the hair was high, but the standard deviations were higher.

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Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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Claire Reilly
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Guns N' Roses Image by Paul Natkin/Getty

For many rock fans, Guns N' Roses will always stand for stadium gigs and the vague scent of hairspray and snakeskin boot wax that brings back memories of '89. But then there are those for whom shredding out gnarly air guitar solos with Slash calls to mind the beauty and purity of statistical analysis.

For those that have always wanted to see the golden era of Guns N' Roses graphed in all its glory (and really, who hasn't?) developer and teacher Juan Gabito has broken the lyrics and licks down into bar charts and box plots, with a little help from some nifty Python coding.

"I just want to know a few things about the songs of the Live Era GnR (1987 - 1993) AKA the real Guns N' Roses," Gabito wrote on his website.

"What's the average song duration? Is Civil War a long song for GnR standards? What about Perfect Crime, it's too short? And the lyrics... which are the most used words? How many words in average do the songs have? How many F* words have been used? Which is the song with the highest lexical diversity?"

The most common words (5 letters or more) used by Guns N' Roses. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

To get lexical with Axl, Gabito analysed 44 songs from "Appetite for Destruction", "G N' R Lies", "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" and broke them down into common and unique words, as well as song lengths to discover the anatomy of a G N' R song.

The most common words in Gunners songs have three letters, ranging down to one 14-letter word. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

The result? Gunners songs have a lexical diversity of 12 percent, meaning 1 out of 8 words are unique (calculated by taking unique words as a percentage of total words) and each song has roughly 39 unique words. The longest word is "sociopsychotic" (appearing in "My World" and, we presume, every unauthorised Steven Adler biography to date) and the most common word is "your".

And because Axl is the kind of guy you could take home to meet your mother, f* words and their variants only make up 0.3 percent of words, appearing 42 times in total (though that's more than "patience" and "jungle" combined for those playing at home).

While "November Rain" may appear to last longer than time itself (or certainly long enough that you shouldn't be playing it outside a church in the middle of nowhere without an amp, Slash), it's not the longest song. That title is taken by "Coma" (at 10:13 minutes).

A box plot showing the duration of G N' R songs. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

While there are no doubt few people who were around in the heady days of hair metal that can actually recall anything much about the era (here's looking at you Nikki Sixx), we're glad someone out there has an appetite for both mathematics and Guns N' Roses. If we could graph that out Juan Gabito, it'd make one pretty sweet Venn diagram.

For the rest of us, welcome to the jungle -- hope you brought your calculator.