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Nine-Minute Road Trip

Road trips allow us to mope, celebrate, ponder and even spend a few hours not thinking about anything, save for a nondescript succession of signs and lines. But all of that takes time, and time on the road takes gas money. For those in search of catharsis on a budget, Stephen Thompson has compiled a playlist for your brutally efficient, environmentally sound, jarringly brief road trip — five songs in nine productive minutes. Here, Thompson talks to host Renee Montagne.

This "Nine-Minute Road Trip" mix is carefully crafted to function as a microcosm of longer road mixes: It opens and closes on a reflective note to mirror the ambivalence surrounding a trip's beginning and end, while going full-bore for those fleeting minutes when you've found a patch of open road. It's a vital soundtrack for when you want to leave your house, hurry to an on-ramp, roar down a short stretch of highway, and abruptly take the next exit to your extremely nearby destination.

For more entries in this summer's weekly Road Trip: Songs to Drive By series, click here.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)