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This Infographic Attempts to Answer the Existential Question: ‘What Is Punk?’

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

The word “punk” has a lot of connotations and the genre is even more difficult to define. While it’s easy to point to the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the Clash as early pioneers of the iconoclastic movement, punk has come to encompass a broad swath of disparate types of music. You could say Kurt Cobain was a punk musician adorned in flannel, but to the youth of today, pop-oriented acts like 5 Seconds of Summer (and their single “She’s Kinda Hot“) are punk, too. And that’s as confusing as it is alarming.

So the good folks at Converse teamed up with data analyst and Polygraph founder Matt Daniels to create an infographic in an attempt to define what’s punk once and for all. Polygraph analyzed data from Spotify and YouTube playlists and the findings reveal that what people consider punk varies pretty wildly.

“The impetus for the project was to dig into the subjectivity of what makes a genre,” said Daniels. “Rather than debate definitions, this data gives us a look at ‘what the people think.'”

One thing is certain: People sure think Green Day are punk.


Daniels also created an interactive device that allows you to type the artist or genre of your choosing to see where it falls on the punk spectrum. For example, the Ramones are considered 25% punk, 9% Oi! and 5% New Wave with a bunch of other genres mixed in. Meanwhile, Blink-182 are pretty evenly considered as much pop-punk as they are punk.

Below is a GIF example, but you can give it a shot and pour through all the data on your own here.


Next: Punk Icons Then and Now

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