Dustinland — The Music Nerd’s Burden

Hey, don’t get me wrong with this week’s Dustinland: music is my life. I love it, I obsess over it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, sometimes it does seem like it would be way easier for either everyone else to have a moderate degree of good taste, or for me to just be a musical dumbass. Hey, it’s not just the obvious places. Sure, there’s terrible music playing in way more than half the bars in New York City every night — you can usually tell before you even walk in if the music is going to suck or not. But why must there be horrible music everywhere? Restaurants, laundromats, neighboring cubicles, passing cars, bakeries, movie theaters, sports arenas, elevators… it never ends. And if you must play horrible music, play it at a reasonable volume at least. If we’re not at a bar or club, there is no reason I should be assaulted by loud, crappy music. Especially when it’s not even appropriate to the venue. I’m sitting at a traditional Thai restaurant. Why am I listening to Bon Jovi? WHY? Oh to be an idiot and love the Billboard Top 100. It would be so much easier.

*** UPDATE: This comic got a ton of Diggs today, which is always nice. And man did people go off on me in the comments section! Wow! If I had a dollar for each time I was called a douchebag on the internet today, I’d be a millionaire! You know, I’m looking at the comic now and just wondering what there is to be so angry about. Are there that many Katy Perry fans out there?

Really though, the thing is, I love music. It’s one of the most important things in my life. I listen to music all the time, I research new and old bands, I write reviews and interview artists, I used to DJ, and I still play guitar (badly). Now calm down all you assholes who have been calling me “pretentious.” I’m not bragging. I’m making a point. And that point is, when you love something so much, you have a strong opinion about it. A lot of people are casual music listeners, and when they don’t like a song, it doesn’t offend them. They just sit there happily eating lunch as some song plays in the background. But for me and people like me who LOVE music, it doesn’t work that way. Once that horrible song comes on, you can’t ignore it. It’s like trying to ignore a mosquito biting you in your bed.

You see, music is literally my favorite thing. If I could do anything, I’d go to a concert. If my apartment was on fire, I’d save my hard drive with all my music backed up on it (and my comics). So yes, I have strong opinions on what music I like and don’t like. And I can express them. In fact, if I didn’t express them, nobody would care about my comics. That’s right all you people calling me a pretentious douchebag — does this make for an interesting read:

“I think everyone is entitled to their opinion on music, and everything else for that matter. Nobody is wrong and everyone is right. Everyone can listen to whatever they want as long as they’re happy.”

No shit. Thanks for the update. That makes for a real interesting read.

Music lovers out there, I know you understand me. Anyone who has ever been brought to tears just from hearing a song, you know what I mean. The rest of you… well, enjoy your crappy music.

*** UDPATE 2: The folks over at Reddit are talking about the strip as well.

18 responses to “Dustinland — The Music Nerd’s Burden

  1. I’m a music nerd myself. But I’m a bit disappointed that your blog didn’t point out what music you DO like. Come on, let’s hear it…

  2. Oh god, I so know what you’re saying…

    I hate it about clubs, there are some good clubs with excellent music…but most of them are unpopular, small and there are much less ladies inthere than in a pop club…

  3. i love music, its one of the most wonderful things on earth. you are not a nerd, you are just a poor guy who thinks his taste is better than anyone elses… thats just sad.
    oh my burden is that im a webnerd and i hate people who make websites with tables.. oh the burden….

  4. Dude I hear you 100%. All of the panels in that comic come from scenes in my daily life. Although I do take issue with your examples of bad music.

    I grew up in the 90’s, and as a result it’s not really possible for me to hate Collective Soul. And although I can’t stand John Mayer, you gotta at least acknowledge his musical talent.

    And yes, I know, that Soulja Boy song is obnoxious, offensive, stupid, and completely lacking in musical quality. However, when you’re in the club, sometimes you just need to say “F*** it” and sing along with everyone else. Let yourself get carried away with the energy around you and forget about how crappy the music is.

  5. What a pretentious asshole you are

  6. Music sucks now. If its not whiny EMO crap its IM GONNA BUST A CAP IN YO ASS shit. Shit i can make a hit song too. Pay me MILLIONS and ill come up with a 3 minute song that only has 1 word in it but yet repeats itself hundreds of times. I give you props Dustin. Keep drawing bro.

  7. hey! another digg front pager!

  8. Hello Dustin.

    I have recently become a fan of multiple online comics. One thing determines if I read them or not. RSS feeds with the comics. Look at xkcd.com’s feed to see how yours should look. It will greatly increase your viewer numbers and make it easier to enjoy.


    I will definitely be passing on “The Music Nerd’s Burden” to my Music Nerd friends. I have a few in particular this made me think of.

  9. I’m with you on the whole article! I was surprised to see that I could totally relate to this comic 🙂

    And by the way, to all the ppl that said stfu: good music does NOT come on the radio (not the big stations anyway), it’s just a matter of searching. Once you do it you will be surprised to hear what’s out there ..



    Oh dear.

    “God it’s a huge burden to have this great taste in music, if only I was stupid like everyone else”

    Closely followed by:

    “What do you mean I’m a douchebag?”

  11. a) this was hilarious. and i agree with that dude that said it depicts scenes from his life. i share your agony, and
    b) what is the deal with people without senses of humor reading online comics? its just weird. what are they expecting to get? You have no sense of humor! Youre never gonna get it! The cows can program their vcrs by now!! Go read TMZ~!

  12. Pingback: Moodspins | Dustinland - The Music Nerd’s Burden

  13. I sympathize with you on the inability to escape horrible music.

    When I was a freshman in high school, I attended the Texas Governor’s school. It was basically a math and science nerd camp. It was, for the most part, an interesting experience.

    However, you could not walk -anywhere- without hearing Soulja Boy every 5 bloody minutes.

    That fact alone almost ruined my entire time there.

    Music is a sacred thing and that fact should not be ruined by overplayed and uncreative pop songs. A new piece of music should be something that expands your horizons and gives you new appreciation for music itself, not something that makes you wish for deafness.

    Additionally, if you have such a refined taste in music, you should perhaps start a music blog. Or you could simply have a page listing artist/album suggestions with a brief description.

    For people to have a refined taste in music, they must first learn about music.

  14. I hear you on this topic (no pun intended!).

    If I’m in a store that’s playing bad music, I may leave because of that.

    I think my music tastes are eclectic (does using that word make ME a pretentious asshole?) – music just has to be good for me to like it. Doesn’t matter if it’s popular or mainstream, that won’t ruin it for me…. but of course, the interesting and cool stuff isn’t on z-100.

    But that’s not to say I have good taste or not. I’ve liked The Violent Femmes for over 15 years now, esp the jam on the track “Black Girls.”

    A benefit of having a deep musical catalog is that you can play songs most people don’t know, just to entertain yourself. I played a song by the Scissor Sisters purely for the entertainment value of playing a song by a group with that name, not for the (ahem) quality of the music.

    Anyway, what’s also funny about music is how a band will sound great on a CD, but will totally suck live in concert, or be inconsistent from show to show. I used to be into Sonic Youth, and with them live, it was hit or miss. One show at Roseland in 1995 or 1996 was mind-blowing, but other shows they played around that same time were difficult to get through, mostly due to Kim Gordan’s vocals sounding like fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Similarly, there are bands that I don’t like too much on CD, but live they’re not that bad. A couple of years ago I saw Mudvayne and they put on a decent live show, surprisingly. Kinda reminds me of how much I miss the “NYC Hardcore” scene… going to the Wetlands on Hudson St. to see Vision of Disorder, Madball, Orange 9 MM, Civ. (Civ works at tattoo parlor on Long Island now.)

    I guess nostalgia plays a big role in whether I’ll like a song or not. And there are songs that I like just because someone I like has played them for me on the guitar. 🙂

    But yeah some songs are flat-out bad and playing them in public places should be banned. For me, my all-time least faves are “Ride wit Me” by Nelly and “Electric Slide” by Marcia Griffiths…(as well as the entire genres of R&B and whiny wuss rock aka Daniel Powter and The Fray, those can ruin a meal).

  15. Same exact thing happens to me, mostly the relationship bit. It surprises me how someone’s taste in music changes my opinion on them. It generally indicates what sort of person they are though and what they like to talk about.

  16. i recently saw tom waits in concert and it changed my world; the man is even more musically genius than one can ever fathom by discography alone… i can no longer respect anyone who haven’t listened to tom waits, nor can i tolerate people who have heard him but “don’t like” his music. i don’t understand “not liking” it when it is the most original and creative American music in some time. they go around listening to john mayer because he’s safe and they’ve heard it 1,000 times before, while that nastiness seriously makes me nauseated.

    music nerd? possibly. pretentious? maybe. but who cares. do your thing dustin.

  17. Yeah man, this strip really, REALLY hit home. I too can agree with you on having a lady’s musical taste make or break it for me.

    I emailed this strip to a ton of people, and a bunch of my pals put it in the “About Me” section of their Myspace page. Good stuff, sir. Good stuff.

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