Exploration Of What Punk Is In 2016 Through Spotify And YouTube Playlists

Written by | January 31, 2016 13:13 pm | No Comments


The word punk is so common these days it has lost most of its meaning, plus it is surely thrown in a band description way too easily. Everyone pretends to be punk, and we often forget that it is not really a genre of music but rather an attitude?

Poly-Graph has decided to analyze the data provided by Spotify and YouTube playlists. By counting how many times the name of a band appears on playlists with the word punk on both services, we can have a good idea of what we consider as punk in 2016.

The results? Whatever you agree or not, the bands that appear most often under the word ‘punk’ are Blink-182 and Green Day (45% of 3,320 playlists titled punk) then we get The Offspring (39%), Sum 41 (35%), Rise Against (34%), Fall Out Boy (34%), My Chemical Romance (31%)… I feel sorry for these old-school bands like the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Black Flag, Social Distortion, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, which all get between 22-13%. According to these playlists, there is another interesting fact: when all the bands are compiled by decades, the 90’s are by far the most punk decade, followed by the 00’s.

Of course genres cross-pollinate and bands are not solely punk but also rock, hardcore, emo, metal…. The frontiers are more and more blurred, and a band like Fall Out Boy is almost equally considered as punk, post punk and emo, whereas Fugazi is also hardcore and post-hardcore, No Doubt is pop-punk and ska-punk, and Bring Me The Horizon is regarded more metalcore, scream and post-hardcore than punk.

The point of the article is to show how genres attribution is arbitrary since our perception of them is fluid and changing throughout generations. We can debate forever about what punk really is, we would never agree. Is it ‘musical freedom’ as Kurt Cobain said, ‘an attitude rather than a musical style’ as David Byrne explained, ‘the personal expression of uniqueness’ as Greg Graffin said, ‘sort of playing music for music’s sake and being part of a family for family’s sake,’ as Ian MacKaye said, or ‘a big middle finger to this whole talent thing,’ as Mike Watt declared… whatever your own definition of punk is, there are a lot of chances it is different from the next generation’s idea of punk. I am part of generation X and for us punk seemed to embody anarchy and rejection of authority, a sentiment that has faded away with generations, from my own observations and my readings, millennials seem to be the most obedient and conformist generation ever, so forget about that middle finger to the establishment! There is no dissent anymore and punk, as generation X saw it, may be really dead.


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