Does Your College Roommate's Music Drive You Nuts? : All Songs Considered If you're headed off to college, there's a good chance you'll find yourself living with someone you otherwise would never have chosen as a roommate.
NPR logo Question Of The Week: Does Your College Roommate's Music Drive You Nuts?

Question Of The Week: Does Your College Roommate's Music Drive You Nuts?

Scene from the 1986 movie 'Back To School,' starring Rodney Dangerfield.
The Kobal Collection

With so many people headed back to school this month, we got to thinking of all the college kids who'll be forced to listen to their roommates' music. Maybe it's a good thing, and they'll discover some amazing artists, songs and albums they never heard before. Chances are, however, many will have to suffer through a hellscape of jams by their least-favorite (or most-despised) musicians.

Back when I started college, boom boxes were pretty popular. The other idiots in my dorm and I would have loudness battles out in the hallways and in the cafeteria, each of us trying to out-blast one another with our favorite albums. Having a particularly brawny boom box was a sign of strength and power. Usually it just resulted in a big mess of indecipherable sound. Fortunately, my first roommate and I were on the same page: We both loved Pink Floyd. We'd stay up late dissecting The Wall and The Dark Side Of The Moon. When he told me he actually liked Dire Straits more than Pink Floyd, I felt so betrayed.


My second roommate loved Mötley Crüe. I heard Shout At The Devil and the appropriately titled Theater Of Pain way more than anyone should ever have to. But that roommate also loved Tone-Lōc. I was totally fine with him playing "Funky Cold Medina" and "Wild Thing" as many times as he wanted.


These days, it seems most kids listen to music on headphones, so maybe this isn't the issue it used to be. But if you did hear it, or you're hearing it now, tell us all about your roommate's music — the good, the bad and the ugly.