We at NPR Music love a big, flashy rock 'n' roll concert as much as the next person. But we're especially fans of those moments when our favorite artists bring their music into smaller spaces, when singers and guitarists and producers and drummers reckon with the particular intimacy and joy that go along with performing in close quarters. That's the impulse behind our Tiny Desk series — and it's something we share with our partners at public radio stations across America, who record hundreds of in-studio sessions every year.
Here, we've collected 10 of our favorite studio session videos from 2016 that capture the best of that spirit. Some of these showcase tunes we couldn't get out of our heads this year: Take Mitski's "Your Best American Girl" and Lizzo's "Good As Hell," which you'll also find on our Top 100 Songs list. Others, like Corinne Bailey Rae's silver-jumpsuited version of "Put Your Records On" and Anderson .Paak's exuberant performance of "Am I Wrong" at home in LA, were just a delight to watch.
You can find many more sessions like these over at VuHaus, a nonprofit site where a dozen public radio stations make it their year-round mission to help you discover performances by new artists and old favorites.