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2013: The Year In Tiny Desk Concerts

Hayley Bartels

For weeks now, we've been compiling lists of 2013's best music — favorite albums, favorite songs, individual staff members' personal Top 10 lists and so on. Applying a rank to the year's best can be a stress-inducing, conflict-intensive process behind the scenes, but we wouldn't dare attempt such a maneuver when the topic is NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts series. We published 67 of the things in 2013, and if there's one idea the staff can agree on publicly, it's that all of our Tiny Desk shows are bunched together in a 67-way tie for No. 1. (What, you want us to rank our respective children, too?)

Still, we had no shortage of highlights at the Tiny Desk in 2013, a year in which we hosted many different musicians from many different genres in many (okay, two) different buildings. We've already got an impressive bundle of performances in the queue for 2014, so here's to many more.

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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.)