Most overused animals of indie rock?

The Beat Crave published recently published their list of the top 5 most overused animals names of indie rock. They list the bird, wolf, bear, horse and deer as the top – citing bands like deerhoof, band of horses, panda bear, wolf parade and birds of tokyo. This post got me thinking of these were the top animals in general – or is this just indie rock.  So I grabbed myself a copy of WordNet, along with JAWS (the Java API for Wordnet searching) and the 20K most popular artists names from, and wrote a bit of code to find out.

Here are my results of the most popular animals of music:

  1. The Dog –  with 14 bands including Temple of the Dog, Three Dog Night, Dog eat Dog, The Black Dog.
  2. The Wolf – with 11 bands  such Wolf, Wolf Parade, and Sea Wolf .
  3. The Tiger with 10 bands including  Tiger, Tiger Army  and Timid Tiger
  4. The Bear with 10 bands like Minus the Bear, Grizzly Bear, and Panda Bear.
  5. The Cat with 9 artists like The Cat Empire, Space Cat and Super Cat

So it looks like there’s some overlap between Beat Crave’s list of the top 5 most overused animal names of indie rock – we see ‘wolf’ and ‘bear’ on both our lists, but for our analysis, ‘dog’, ‘tiger’ and ‘cat’ are used quite a bit more often than ‘deer’, ‘bird’ and ‘horse’.

Using WordNet is fun (and the JAWS library makes it incredibly easy to use). Here are some more artist name facts:

Most popular colors:

  1. Black (94)
  2. Blue (52)
  3. Brown (40) – but these are mostly names
  4. Red (36)
  5. White (36)

Most popular moods/feelings:

  1. Love (44)
  2. Joy (10)
  3. Hate (9)
  4. Terror ( 8 )
  5. Fear ( 8 )

Most popular fruit:

  1. Lemon (10)
  2. Cherry (7)
  3. Strawberry (4)
  4. Banana (3)
  5. Lime (3)

Perhaps one of my favorite band memes is to add a ‘head’ suffix to a word such as for bands like Radiohead, Buckethead, Zebrahead, The Lemonheads, Mushroomhead, etc.

  1. #1 by Ally on March 7, 2009 - 12:07 pm

    Wouldn’t “Black” and “White” also regularly be names? And I can’t believe you forgot Portishead from the final list!

    Anyway, cheers for this, very interesting. If Lemon, Love, Black, Dog and -head are the most common, can we find the most cliched artist name in music? The Black Dog, the Lemonheads… any threesomes?

  2. #2 by TheFiend on May 5, 2009 - 6:00 pm

    Thanks for the great article, but most of those keywords would be a given in the indie music scene. But i would of guessed Cherry as the most popular fruit instead of a lemon lol

  3. #3 by Greg on June 7, 2009 - 2:24 am

    That’s funny. I’ve recognized cliches now and then, but never really focused on it like you just did.

    I think you got it down. And if you go back to the 80’s, it’s all cliche.

    Bananarama, Cat Stevens… hmmm, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned those two in the same conversation.

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