Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Top 10 Punk Sub-Genres We’re Pretty Sure Spotify Invented to Screw With Us

Punk music has evolved and expanded over the years. There are now hundreds of subgenres that all fit within the extended family of punk rock. Curious Spotify users can search these genres and the app will generate a playlist on the fly to explore. But the Spotify algorithm is not without its faults. In this era of AI-generated song descriptions and hashtag-obsessed classifications, we’ve witnessed the appearance of new subgenres at a rate that seems suspicious.

Spotify has always been obsessed with classifying and labeling music. Their algorithm is like that one friend who only listens to hardcore and has a qualifying reason that everything else is not “real” punk. Every song must be placed neatly into a genre, even if a new one has to be invented to make it happen.

These punk sub-genres represent the most egregious fabrications that Spotify pulled out of its AI ass this year to see if we were paying attention:


What do the Dwarves, Tiger Army, and Social Distortion have in common? According to Spotify, they’re all “cowpunk” bands, whatever the hell that is. Is it maybe what you get when a punk band brings in a little blues/Americana sound? There’s really no way to know. Oh there’s some Face To Face in here too? This genre is clearly an inside joke that we just aren’t “in” enough to get. Good one Spotify.


No, no, no. This is not a thing. Adding synth and drum loops does not make a new punk genre, no matter what Spotify tells us. Nobody who includes Hollywood Undead or 3OH!3 in a list of punk bands should be trusted. And considering that most of the songs in this playlist are from various “Punk Goes…” compilations, it’s clear that this is a genre invented for cover bands, if it even exists.

Minneapolis Punk

The Spotify algorithm clearly learned about Extreme Noise Records and assumed that something was exciting enough up in Minnesota to justify a new genre. While Minneapolis does have a thriving punk scene, we need to draw a line in the sand here. And on this side, we don’t assign new genres to every Midwestern city with a few hundred thousand residents. No thank you, next.


Hey, Spotify? This Pinterest-derived interior design style is definitely not a new punk genre. Just admit that you didn’t really get Days N Daze, and you got confused. They’re not quite crust punk, not quite folk punk, and that’s fine with the rest of us. We don’t need another made up music genre every time your algorithm hears a washboard. Can’t we please just listen to “Flurry Rush” without being harassed by your weird playlist suggestions?

Shibuya Punk

There is nothing that could defend the existence of this as a so-called music genre. The phrase “Shibuya Punk” exists only in niche corners of the internet where nerds discuss Japanese rollerblading games from Sega Dreamcast. And even then, they’re talking about the visual aesthetic, not the soundtrack. This was an algorithm fuckup, right Spotify? Because hey, it has “punk” in the name, just like the music!


This is a vague label for any song with chiptunes mixed in. The singer from metalcore group Horse The Band used this word one time as a joke in an interview, and to this day they’re still trying to get their fans to stop using it to describe them. But Spotify wants us to believe this is something more than a regrettable joke, it’s a brand new punk sub-genre! Fuck off. That’s not how this works.


This is Spotify’s pretend genre for groups who for some reason won’t admit they make folk-punk music. Arguing that a particular band is folk-gone-punk instead of punk-gone-folk is like debating if blueish-green is different from greenish-blue. Who gives a shit? We’ve allowed this streaming giant’s frivolous misinformation to distract us from the very real conversation about how little they pay the artists on their platform.

Millennial Punk

C’mon Spotify. Don’t try to rebrand late-’90s/early-’00s pop punk and alternative rock radio like this. Nobody is falling for it. “Millennial Punk” just sounds like we’re all playing Taboo and we can’t use the word “pop” this round. “Oh yeah, I used to have such bad taste in high school. All I ever listened to was Millennial Punk, haha.” Please just respect pop punk’s wishes and call it by its preferred name. Unwanted nicknames like these aren’t cool, man.

Angry Workout

This is melodic hardcore and songs people listened to in order to get pumped when serving in Iraq 20 years ago. It’s the exact same playlist from start to finish. Here is another attempt by Spotify to take a very real punk sub-genre and call it whatever horseshit they felt like in the moment. Not everything needs an edgy reboot to stay relevant. Just let the classics be classics without rebranding, please. We’re begging you.


Calling a punk band “obscure” is pointless and redundant. Everybody knows that once a punk band achieves mainstream success, they are no longer considered punks. They are sellouts or posers, depending who you ask. This invented genre of “Obscure Punk” is an offense to hard-working punks everywhere, and we wholeheartedly reject any claims of its existence. Sorry Spotify, science doesn’t care if you believe in it.