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The Contender
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Paramore are not a punk band

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2013 Category: Music
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,924 times Debate No: 42403
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




I really like proper punk music ( The distillers, The exploited, Rancid, etc), yet many people are now considering Paramore a Punk band, when they're clearly not! Also, to be honest, Paramore aren't a good band!


Opening Statements
I'll start off by saying that I see this debate as having a shared burden of proof. I conclude this based on the title of the debate and Freyalibra3's statement that many people consider Paramore to be a punk band (which I will explain further in the next paragraph). I will be presenting evidence for my counterclaim that Paramore is, in fact, a punk band.

So far, my opponent has admitted that many consider Paramore to be a punk band and has provided no evidence that these people are somehow wrong. The artists that belong to particular genres are determined by people, so the fact that many people consider Paramore to be a punk band is evidence that it is a punk band. Instead of explaining why Paramore is not a punk band despite popular opinion, my opponent has only asserted that Paramore's music does not belong to the punk genre. Therefore, just from my opponent's opening statement, the debate leans in my favour, and I really have no need to argue further at this point. I will, however, make a stronger case to defend my claim that Paramore is a punk band. Since my opponent accepts that Paramore is a band, I only need to support the claim that they can accurately be labeled as belonging to the punk genre. Also, whether or not Paramore is a "good" band is irrelevant to the debate. This could be compared to making the claim that salt is not used often to season food because one does not like the taste.

Since my opponent has not defined any terms, I will do so now:

Genre- a broad category of music used to group artists and songs based on similar qualities and style

Punk- generally characterized as a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive genre of rock music that includes sub-genres such as hardcore punk, pop punk, etc.; typical punk rock instrumentation includes one or two electric guitars, an electric bass, and a drum kit, along with vocals; also known as punk rock [0,1]

Pop punk- a fusion sub-genre of punk; the music typically combines fast punk tempos, chord changes and loud guitars with pop-influenced melodies and lyrical themes [1,2]

Punk band- a band whose songs and most notable works often fall under the punk genre

Since it has already been established that Paramore is a band, the specific definition of band is not relevant.

Technical Argument
Paramore can be seen to be a punk band because they meet all the characteristics of the definition of punk and pop punk. Their songs include electric guitars, drums, an electric bass, and vocals. To further narrow this classification, their songs are often fast-moving and aggressive and they are widely considered to be part of the pop punk sub-genre of punk (which I will get to in my next point).

Argument from Perception
Humans give power to labels, and labels can only be seen as meaningful with widespread human perception of a label in mind. As I have said, the qualifications that determine what genre a band is are subjectively created and therefore are determined by perception. This is analogous to how words are perceived to correspond to objects and are defined based on these perceptions. In this way, genres are seen to correspond to specific characteristics of music and are established as such. Because it is popular opinion and perception that determine what constitutes a genre, it is general perception that can be said to determine what genre a band is. A single genre can describe a very wide range of music. There are all sorts of sub-genres of rock music that have very different artists. Furthermore, genres evolve to encompass even more diverse types of music. Rock and roll is a good example of this. Rock has branched out into many different sub-genres since its origin. This is why it is not surprising that Elvis Presley, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and Thrice have all been called rock. Similarly, punk does not have to be a very specific label. This can be seen in that fact that a wide range of artists that may better be classified under a more specific genre, such as Rise Against, are sometimes tagged as punk on certain music sites and on CDs. There is very much overlap between genres, and works within a genre of music can vary greatly just as a fantasy novel can be about anything from elves and dragons to modern day wizards or vampires.

All this being said, it is accurate to classify Paramore as a punk band because many people feel that they meet the requirements and define them as such. Paramore is considered to be a part of the pop-punk genre. One only needs to look to the fans and those familiar with the band to get this answer, but I will give more than just anecdotal, contained evidence. Wikipedia lists Paramore as being of the pop punk genre. This is based on the perception of a great number of people. Last fm also lists pop punk as a genre for Paramore [4].

To claim that Paramore is not a punk band does not change the fact that a large number people agree that they should be considered a pop punk band. This is analogous to making the claim that a word should be defined differently in the dictionary, even though that definition is consistent with common usage. Unless my opponent can convince the world to stop labeling Paramore in this manner, than Paramore remains a punk band both by the definition listed here and by popular perception.

I eagerly await Freyalibra3's rebuttal.

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting and I am sorry for taking a while to reply!

You said: " The artists that belong to particular genres are determined by people, so the fact that many people consider Paramore to be a punk band is evidence that it is a punk band. "

That is untrue, to be honest. If I wanted to, I could decide that One direction were a punk band, and I could then get people to agree with me. However, by doing this, it does not mean that they're a punk band! Many people that consider Paramore to be a punk band, a lapping up a label for the band, that has been introduced by the media. Lots of people love the idea of liking a punk band, as it makes them appear alternative and against the flow. By the media declaring that Paramore are a punk band, people instantly like this idea!

You defined the meanings of punk and pop punk, yet being a punk band is just not about a fast tempo and aggressiveness. The definition provided could easily be that of rock music and maybe even metal! Anyway, punk music is not always about what I said above. It is often about delivering a political message, that the listener can relate to. I see no sign of Paramore ever doing this! Also, not all punk music has to be fast tempo and aggressive. For example: Rancid were a punk band, with a slowish tempo and raw sound. Paramore do not have this raw sound, as they are a clean-cut, polished band, that are clearly not punk. I mean, are these paramore songs actually punk?

The answer is obviously no!

You also stated: "Paramore can be seen to be a punk band because they meet all the characteristics of the definition of punk and pop punk. Their songs include electric guitars, drums, an electric bass, and vocals. To further narrow this classification, their songs are often fast-moving and aggressive"

Rock music also fits this description. So does metal and grunge. Punk can be classified as different to these genres, due to its rawer sound, and faster tempo. You also keep adding that they're a POP- punk band, yet the pop-punk defines bands like NOFX and earlier Blink 182.

Finally, by saying that Paramore are a punk band, you are, to be blunt, being ignorant of real punk music, that actually fits the genuine definition of punk! I have added a few videos of REAL punk music (Rancid, The distillers, Charged GBH, The devotchkas) . They should be under the Paramore videos.


I believe that I have met my burden of proof and that my opponent has provided no evidence to refute my claims. My claims are as follows:

A band's genre is determined by widespread perception and conclusions.
Paramore is perceived to be a pop punk band.
Pop punk is a sub-genre of punk as defined for this debate.
Therefore, Paramore is a punk band.

I will continue to support the first two premises in this argument. The third is a fact based on the definitions for this debate.

Genres Are Determined by People
My opponent seems to have claimed that I am incorrect when I say that genres are determined by people. This necessarily means that my opponent feels that genres are not determined by people and are determined by something else or inherent to the characters and sounds that compose the name of a genre in any given language. She, of course, has not provided support for this claim. She has only asserted without evidence that this is the case: "That is untrue, to be honest."

My opponent has also created a straw man for my argument. She claims that if she got some people to agree that One Direction was a punk band, it still would not be one. This ignores the fact that my argument was that widespread perception is what is important. Paramore is widely perceived as a pop punk band. If everyone in the world was convinced that One Direction was a "punk band" or at least a majority were, then it would be a punk band. As I previously explained, the word "punk" has no inherent meaning. Now of course the past meaning of punk is important, but as I pointed out with my example of rock, both words and genres change and evolve. It should be noted that it is unlikely that One Direction will ever be considered a punk band. I already addressed this. Some genres differ to such an extent from other genres that an artist of one will likely never be perceived as the other genre. Examples could include classical compared to metal and metal compared to electronica. There are clear instrumental differences, for example, between these genres. Changes in perception of genres are not so random as my opponent would make them out to be.

My opponent has claimed that the perception of Paramore as a punk band is due to media labels. She, however, has not provided any support to this claim or given any evidence that this change in perception is unwarranted. As I have pointed out, the meaning of words change. Since words are subjectively defined and determined by usage and perception, it is incorrect to claim that a change in the definition of a word is invalid. There is no "real" definition, but there are common ones based on common usage during a time period. The same holds true of genres.

My opponent's objection that my definition of punk could also apply to rock is not valid because punk rock is a sub-genre of rock, and regardless, this is definition of punk for the debate. Also, a political message is not necessary for a punk band based on the definition provided for punk. My opponent has not defined "raw sound." Furthermore, whether or not Paramore is considered to be "raw" is irrelevant to this debate.

My opponent also contradicts herself by pointing out the slow tempo of Rancid, which she claims is a punk band, and then saying that punk is of a faster tempo than rock, metal, and grunge. This is clearly an over-generalization as well considering genres like speed metal and power metal that have faster tempos than any of the songs my opponent listed and claims are punk.

My opponent asks if the Paramore songs she gives are punk and then simply asserts that they are not: "The answer is obviously no!" I however have displayed that they meet the definition of punk and specifically pop punk. It is not relevant to the debate whether or not Paramore sounds like the bands my opponent has listed. Also, the songs my opponent has listed are all from Paramore's most recent album which was made without their former lead guitarist and drummer. These songs are arguably more pop-like than a lot of their music, especially Daydreaming and Still Into You. The first three videos I have included are each from a different Paramore album. The pop influence can still be seen, but they might all be considered to have much "rawer" art, dress, and music style and might give a fuller picture Paramore as a whole. Their music does have a lot of variety. Also, if poor video quality has anything to do with "rawness," at 240p for official music videos, the first two videos are quite poor in quality. It doesn't really matter either way since, as I have pointed out, "rawness" is not necessarily required to meet the definition of punk.

As I pointed out, genres are vague. My most important point is that Paramore is widely considered a pop punk band. My opponent has given no evidence to counteract this and has even admitted they are considered to be a punk band. I consider this a concession on the point. My opponent did, however, make the claim that Paramore is not actually even a pop punk band. Again, she presented no evidence for this statement but only asserted without support that "NOFX and earlier Blink 182" are pop punk bands while Paramore is not. Again, I will quote Wikipedia on the issue[1]:
"A 'second wave' of pop punk was spearheaded by Blink-182 in the late 1990s..."
Paramore is listed as also being a part of this continued second wave of pop punk, and Blink-182 is still considered to be a pop punk band [2]. Also, the fourth video I have linked to is a Blink-182 and Paramore mashup for enjoyment. Many different bands are considered to be part of the pop punk genre. We can see a clear progression in the genre and differences, but this does not mean that newer bands that are considered pop punk are not actually pop punk because they do not sound exactly like older pop punk bands. The same is true of punk as a whole.

My opponent's next statement that I am wrong because I am ignorant of "real punk music" might be considered an ad hominem. Instead of explaining why what she considers to be "real punk music" is punk music but what others consider to be "real punk music" is not, she simply states that I am ignorant and wrong. Furthermore, as I pointed out, there is no such thing as "real punk music." This might be considered akin to the no true Scotsman fallacy. My opponent does not get to determine what "real punk" music is for the world. The fact that she considers the mostly 90s punk bands she lists to be "real punk" is irrelevant to the debate. A single opinion is not an argument.

I have included a popular pop punk mashup below the aforementioned videos. Paramore makes three appearances. I think the video especially shows the diversity of what can be considered a genre. Sure, some of these bands can be more specifically classified, but punk is used as a very broad term that has changed over time.

I feel that I have met my burden of proof while my opponent's argument has been based mostly on her own opinion. Popular perception and agreement on meaning is what allows us to communicate. If someone were to claim that words had different definitions than the commonly perceived definitions, then they would be unable to communicate with others. This is why general agreement matters and one cannot claim that someone is wrong about a generally agreed upon definition as if their opinion about what the word should mean is somehow objective. My opponent's argument has been that Paramore cannot be considered a punk band based on what she things punk should mean. My argument has been that Paramore can be considered a punk band based on what the word does mean to a large number people.

Debate Round No. 2


Freyalibra3 forfeited this round.


My opponent has been unable to address or refute any of my arguments. In summary, Paramore is a punk band based on the definitions for the debate. The band is widely perceived to be pop punk and therefore can be considered to be a punk band. My opponent admits that many see the band this way but argues that Paramore is not "truly" a punk band. As I have argued for in this debate, this claim is akin to the no true Scotsman fallacy. The meanings of words are defined by people and are not static. They are subject to change and can also encompass a wide range of ideas. Genres evolve over time and are often quite vague. My opponent has pointed out 70s, 80s, and 90s punk bands ("The distillers, The exploited, Rancid, etc") and claimed that since Paramore is not like these bands that meet a more specific and earlier definition of punk, it is not a punk band. As I have pointed out, this is fallacious because it is a less explicit attempt to change the definition of punk for this debate. Simply because Paramore does not meet a very narrow perception of what punk is to my opponent is not relevant to the debate. As I said in my previous statement, I have given evidence that Paramore is widely perceived to meet the qualifications for being a punk band based on the definitions given for the debate. My opponent has simply asserted that Paramore is not a punk band because she feels that Paramore does not meet the standards of what she personally feels punk should mean.

I feel that I have met my burden of proof to show that Paramore is part of that et cetera.

All arguments extended.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
Awe, my youtube videos didn't show up :( I have failed.
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
"...blur the lines of what punk rock really is..." Punk rock is a combination of two words. It can be represented by noise or letters and has absolutely no inherent meaning. That is what punk rock REALLY is. I also never said it did not carry on into the 80s. Your argument about "ignorance" and "lost touch with it's(sic) roots" is the equivalent of arguing that the word gay really means "happy" and not "homosexual. " Terms are defined by people based on their usage and their meanings change over time. "Punk rock" means nothing to someone who knows no English. I see no reason to be change adverse with regards to this.
Posted by the-clarinet-babe 2 years ago
But why should we allow society to blur the lines of what punk rock really is? And the original punk was more than the 70s, it carried on through the 80s and part of the 90s as well. The foundation that punk is formed on is universal and it shouldn't be forgotten and the fact that there's punk and what is now called "Punk" is frivolous. People think it's the same thing, but in all reality, it's lost touch with it's roots because of the ignorance of society. Society is ignorant and we shouldn't just be abandoning those original ideals of punk because "it doesn't mean that to everyone anymore" people are ignorant because we choose to alter the past and then forget the original ideals.
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
Doesn't really matter for the context of the debate though. To me, the use I've ever seen people have for really vague genre terms is to argue about them (and use them for really vague classification). If you want to talk about 70s style punk specifically, then we all know what you mean, but punk doesn't necessarily mean that to everyone anymore. I think it's kind of silly when people argue over the genre of a band or artist (unless you want to call Beethoven metalcore).
Posted by the-clarinet-babe 2 years ago
I must say, Paramore isn't very punk. Like, in my opinion, there's more to punk rock than the sound of the music. The biggest aspect of what punk is, in my honest opinion, is the DIY ethics of punks. Hayley Williams fashion sense may be "punk" in the terms of a main stream society, but it's not anywhere near it. She wears designer clothes which can easily be found and purchased and there's no uniqueness to that. Nothing about this band fits the classical DIY ethic of punk and if you were to change we would just have a weak skeleton of what punk is. Not to mention, I have heard nothing of Paramore doing anything remotely political, which many classic punks would do. Politics are something that form the backbone of punk history, whether they would be anachro-punks who saw no good in politics or if they were liberals, socialists, etc. who were protesting against the man either with action or with song. So, yea, Paramore's not really punk. Just sayin.
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
I didn't really like their last album at all. Maybe I need to give it another chance.
Posted by Leopth 2 years ago
Paramore has really good music but they don't have a specific genre, they're pop-punk-emo-alternative.
Posted by TheRealDJJones 2 years ago
Paramore is so diverse, it might as well have it's own genre called Paramore. But then again so would many things. They are an amazing band of alternative rock, emo, pop punk, rock, and sometimes even country music.
Posted by Freyalibra3 2 years ago
I agree that a band shouldn't always be labelled as one genre, however I believe Paramore are not really connected to grunge music. @Nerd_in_a_Trenchcoat
Posted by Nerd_in_a_Trenchcoat 2 years ago
Paramore is too awesome do be to be confined to one musical genre. I label them emo-punk-rock-country-rap-alternative-grunge.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.