NPR's Tiny Desk series has been something to behold over the last few years. Bringing in incredible artists to give a small concert in the company's office building, you get a view of a far more intimate view of these artists than you typically would, and get a very clear recording of some incredible live music. Let's break down the top ten tiny desk concerts ever!
The Los Angeles native SiR has given us some truly incredible tracks through the years. The melodic, relaxing tone of his music and voice could put a pouncing tiger to sleep. His songs make you feel like you're floating on a cloud while angels fly around you.
In this performance, he actually had his mother perform background vocals with him, which sounds like a sweet gesture until you realize his mother was a backup singer for Michael Jackson and Anita Baker, so really it seems like she was doing him a favor.
9. Florence + The Machine
Florence Welch has one of the more unique voices ever to grace the industry, and she put it on full display in this live performance. Performing June, Patricia, and Ship to Wreck, it's impossible to not become fixated by the gravity in her voice.
It's truly unbelievable what she can do with her voice, and how amazing her band is on top of that.
Noname is one of the best rappers to grace the industry in a long, long time. Her albums Telefone and Room 25 are raw, poetic, and magnifying. Noname started as a slam poet in the early 2010s before getting her first big break on Chance the Rapper's groundbreaking mixtape Acid Rap.
Since then, she's been giving us soothing music that preaches the struggles and hardships of the black woman in America. Don't just love Noname, listen to Noname. She's got some great stuff to say.
7. Common at the White House
I went to the White House once. I wasn't actually invited, I just did a tour with my cousins, and I certainly wasn't asked to perform.
But then again, I'm not Common. Invited to do a live performance for NPR in the White House library, the legendary rapper took the stage and owned it to the fullest.
"The Tiny Desk Concert series takes pride in giving a voice to people who have something to say in our culture, who move our culture forward. In that spirit, NPR music presents Common", said a spokesperson for NPR.
There are very few, if any, people with more to say than Common.
6. Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.
This series was made for people like Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. People whose voices are so incredible you've just got to hear them live, unfiltered, unedited. If you're a fan of vocal ecstasy, click on that video right now.
5. Tyler, The Creator
Tyler didn't just give us tracks off Flower Boy. He gave us extremely unique takes on each song, with vocal harmony and instrumentals that aren't heard on the album. Every song has a unique flavor to it you won't get anywhere else.
Tyler of course also brought his infectious personality to the table, making the video so fun you feel like you're actually there with him.
Also, who are those background singers, and why don't they have albums out? We're all waiting for it.
4. Harry Styles
Harry Styles recorded this with his band, which has so many cool people and cool voices I can't even explain, a week before we all went into lockdown, almost a year ago to date. Showing off his rendition of Cherry to begin this concert, it was actually so good I can't even listen to the studio version of Cherry anymore. It just doesn't hit the same for me.
Fine Line was the album of the year. The fact that it isn't even up for Album of the Year at the Grammys when it clearly was the album of the year makes me furious for a number of reasons, but regardless, this performance is so good. Let's focus on the positive.
3. Anderson .Paak
To celebrate the first single drop and the upcoming album between him and Bruno Mars, let's remember how good this concert was.
.Paak has an extremely unique voice, and not only does it translate from the record performances, it sounds the exact same. Zero difference. Which is insane. These sound even better than the studio recordings from Malibu, which are pretty damn good on their own.
This has 63 million views for a reason. Go check it out.
So, as it turns out, the king of autotune himself can sing. Not only can he sing, he's really, really good at singing. For real. Watching a video of someone singing about strippers and liquor so soulfully is as goofy and captivating as the man himself.
For real, never disrespect T-Pain again. Insanely talented.
1. Mac Miller
Featuring Thundercat playing a twelve string bass, a string quartet, and a whole lot of emotions, Mac left us with this, coming out about a month before his passing. You can see how much he loves the music he's making, and how personable and happy he was. It's as heartbreaking as it is loveable.
This concert would be #1 without his passing in mind, but with it being the last recorded live performance he ever gave, and it being this good, it will be #1 forever. Rest easy, and don't trip.
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