Friday, 23 May 2008

Statistics Can Be Fun No. 1

One of the longest running arguments I ever had (and am still having) was/is the level of talent displayed by Andrew W.K. The_Accountant is of the impression that he is a witless buffoon. I, on the other hand, consider him someone who is a witless buffoon and a effortless purveyor of brilliantly brainless rock, or at least was for one album, before he became a witless buffoon sans qualifier.

Part of the problem with our long-running discussion (beyond the obvious fact that it's a waste of time even by my standards) is that both of us tend to use the same exhibits as evidence for both prosecution and defence. Take for example what The Onion referred to with atypical understatement as Mr W.K.'s "party-liking stance". The sheer frequency with which the word appears in both the lyrics and on the cover sleeve of I Get Wet is taken by T_A to demonstrate Andy (as his mates call him) lacks the ability to write about any other topic but partying. I, on the other hand, take it as a sign of true genius that a man can base an entire album around saying "I do, in fact, enjoy the process of what we loosely define as "partying", yes indeed, good sir" over, and over, and over, and over; without me getting bored.

The worst/best example is the entirely self-explanatory song "Party Hard". In this song the word "party" is repeated so many times W.K. must have overloaded his spell-checker typing in the lyrics. I eventually decided to quantify just how much AWK (as his ornithological mates call him) enjoys a good shindig by calculating his party per minute (ppm) ratio.

The result is an astonishing 23 ppm. Close to one party every other second. I lack the resources to check, but I'd wager this beats all previous purveyors of party-liking songs, defeating both disturbing sex-dwarf Prince and terrifying bronze man-child Peter Andre.

We can however compare this with James' Crash, which demonstrates a comparatively paltry 7.5 crashes-per-minute; or Taking Back Sunday's Head Club, which manages a faintly recursive count of 3 songs-per-minute.

It's also worth noting that Sufjan Stevens manages a ludicrous 0.027 Illinois-per-minute during Come On Feel The Illinoise, (ignoring the word being mentioned or spelled out by his backing singers on a couple of songs), which given it's a concept album about fucking Illinois is pretty slovenly.

Statistical conclusion: Andrew W.K. likes parties much more than Tim Booth loves car crashes or Needlessly Shouty Bloke likes songs (or possibly his just own songs, which would put him in line with pretty much everyone else's opinion of Tell All Your Friends), and Sufjan Stevens hates the Prairie State, presumably making him a Communist.

Next week on Statistics Can Be Fun, we calculate the exact extent to which you Forgot About Dre.

1 comment:

Pause said...

Of course, the real fun of statistics is choosing which ones to use.

For example, while Andy may be indeed know how to party hard temporally, he doesn't fare so well verbally.

For example, Blondie's Atomic. Atomic features an impressive 0.28 tpw (tonights per word), dismissing "oh", "ah" and "uh-huh" as sounds rather than complete words. Even with their inclusion it's a fair 0.21 tpw, comparable to Andy's 0.21 ppw. At worst we can call this a draw.

But the real disaster comes when we consider the overall structure of the song. Andy manages a mere 0.020 ppv (partys per vocabulary), compared to Blondie's 0.071 tpv. Thus, though Andy lends some considerable uncertainty as to how much of his time is spent doing things other than partying, we can be much more confident of exactly when Blondie will be going "atomic".

Please consider addressing this selection issue in your next installment of "Statistics can be fun".