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What music do you listen to when you’re in the car for hours?

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So, Leila, I know you've had a chance to travel a little bit already this summer.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Yes.

INSKEEP: In a few weeks, a couple weeks, my family's going to be on a road trip driving around the Midwest. And our staff was talking about what people do to kill time on a road trip, what they listen to. So what are your thoughts?

FADEL: Well, first of all, I don't like road trips...

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

FADEL: ...Because I'm a are we there yet type of person. I was the very annoying child in my family. So I love music on a road trip, everything from, like, Janet Jackson to Saweetie to Shakira to, like, George Wassouf, who's a super famous Lebanese singer.

INSKEEP: Oh, cool.

FADEL: Like, I like something upbeat, too, to keep me awake. So I do a lot of Arabic music because it's, like, a lot of drums.

INSKEEP: Oh, I bet that's great. Yeah.

FADEL: It's really fun. And now there's a lot of crossover.

INSKEEP: You mean it's, like, kind of traditional, but also pop.

FADEL: Modern, yeah. They're trying to break into world music, and I'm loving it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAMA EH")

ELYANNA: (Singing in Arabic).

FADEL: But then I have to do, like, a serialized podcast, like, a story. Otherwise I can't keep my attention or stay awake.

INSKEEP: Yeah, yeah.

FADEL: And then when I'm out of options, I call my mom and we just talk.

INSKEEP: Really?

FADEL: Yeah.

INSKEEP: Does she yell at you to make sure you're hands-free?

FADEL: Yeah, we're hands-free, and then we just chat.

INSKEEP: OK.

FADEL: What about you? What do you do?

INSKEEP: Well, I mean, when I get the opportunity to choose the music, which is not often...

FADEL: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: I will pick music that somehow fits the geography that I am in. We were in California some months ago, and I turned on the Eagles because it makes me think of Southern California.

FADEL: I love that.

INSKEEP: We were in Colorado, and I was listening to the Lumineers, this Denver-based band. And there are also weird choices that come over me when I'm overseas. I have this memory - I realize this is not a universal experience - but during the Iraq War, driving around some part of Iraq and listening to Louis Armstrong.

FADEL: That's an interesting one. He's definitely not - he didn't come from Baghdad.

INSKEEP: No, no, no, not from Baghdad.

FADEL: No (laughter).

INSKEEP: But there was something about being an American in a very, very different place, at a very, very strange time...

FADEL: Yeah.

INSKEEP: ...That "Mack The Knife" felt like an appropriate thing to be playing while going through Kirkuk.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MACK THE KNIFE")

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: (Singing) Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear. And he shows them pearly white.

INSKEEP: But I got to be honest. I mean, there're kids in the car if I'm traveling with the family, and so they're going to make, you know, 90% of the...

FADEL: How do you - they make the choices?

INSKEEP: They just win, they just win.

FADEL: So there's a lot of Taylor Swift is what you're telling me. Your road trip...

INSKEEP: Oh, my gosh, yes. Absolutely.

FADEL: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: Or, you know, just the hit music radio, you know?

FADEL: Actually, yeah, your daughters and I would get along. I like hit music radio.

INSKEEP: Oh.

FADEL: I'll come on your road trips (laughter).

INSKEEP: Oh, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CRUEL SUMMER")

TAYLOR SWIFT: (Singing) So cut the headlights, summer's a knife. I'm always waiting for you just to cut to the bone.

FADEL: But actually, Steve, we only listen to NPR podcasts and NPR News shows.

INSKEEP: Right.

FADEL: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CRUEL SUMMER")

SWIFT: (Singing) Oh, it's new, the shape of your body. It's blue, the feeling... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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