Sam Suter's usually on the other side of the site, recording and editing all of our video content and taking some of the stunning images of shows and musicians. But just because he's behind the camera doesn't mean he's not a part of the conversation. Sam has spent the year watching and listening and has come up with a Top 10 list that spans albums, songs, videos and visuals.
1. Malibu - Anderson .Paak (album)
Anderson .Paak is funky, soulful and impossible to put in a box. I found myself coming back tho this album over and over throughout the year, and each time I would notice something new or pick out a new favorite song.
2. Lemonade – Beyonce (visual album)
I mean, come on. What is there left to say about Lemonade?
3. Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
Still very new, but I can tell by the fact that my neck is a little bit sore since it's come out that I'll be listening to this for a while. Not being the biggest fan of Donald Glover's previous albums, but really enjoying his show Atlanta, I wasn't sure what to expect with this album. I ended up being very pleasantly surprised.
4. Chance the Rapper's verse on Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" (verse)
God damn, Chance can rap. The song all around is good, but Chance's verse is something special. I'm usually not one to try to learn the words to songs, but I had to listen and re-listen until I could rap along with Chance.
5. IV – BADBADNOTGOOD (album)
My favorite thing to drive to this year, and I did a lot of driving this year.
6. Aida Victoria's Tiny Desk Concert (live video)
I had never heard of Aida Victoria before I happened upon her Tiny Desk Concert. She had a cool look, which initially got me to click on the video. As soon as I heard her first few strums, I knew I made a good choice. Her voice is unique, her songwriting is visceral and her guitar is an extension of herself.
7. Prima Donna – Vince Staples (visual album)
Man, Vince Staples is smart. The video for his Prima Donna EP is probably my favorite take on the visual album that I've seen. It looks great and incorporates the music in a totally unique way. It helps that the EP is one of the best projects of the year, too.
8. Family Dinner Vol. 2 – Snarky Puppy (album)
I wonder how many people are injured every year while reacting to Snarky Puppy.
9. Blonde – Frank Ocean (album + "Nikes" video)
I'd been waiting for this ever since the first time I listened to Channel Orange. Blonde is not at all what I was expecting at that time, but it totally makes sense now. I first listened to it on a plane flying to Salt Lake City, and I'll just say I definitely recommend listening to Blonde while you're in the sky.
10. "Cash Machine" video – Big Baby D.R.A.M. (video)
If you're feeling down, this video is for you. If you're in a good mood and want to be in an even better mood, this video is for you. D.R.A.M.'s love song to money manages to be one of the sweetest and cutest songs I've heard in a long time. It's got me really tempted to buy a pink sweat suit and a tricycle.