They Wanna See Sam Lao at No. 3.

This time of year, it’s become a bit of a tradition around here for us to not only count down the last few pages on the calendar, but also the best songs to come out of North Texas in the past 12 months. As I think we’ve shown in years past, the results are pretty much always diverse, with a few seemingly out-of-left-field choices in some pretty high-ranking slots. This year, in a countdown that will be unveiled in chunks day by day for the rest of the year, you’ll find some Grammy nominees alongside brand new bands that just started up this year, as well as some high school acts and, well, everything else in between. The one thing they have in common? They all put out fire in 2016.

There’s no question that, as far as the North Texas music scene is concerned, 2016 was the year of Sam Lao.

She seemingly won every award, played every festival, popped up in every video and released a masterful full-length that every local critic made No. 1 on their mid-year lists. If there were any local critics left, we image they’d have all put her latest LP on their end of year list, too.

Here’s what just one of our critics said about Lao’s killer SPCTRM record: “SPCTRM is clear statement release, the kind of subsequent confirmation of early praise that this town too rarely sees from the fresh-faced artists it so quickly and readily hypes; it shows off an artist fully formed. And, though it’s more than a simple hip-hop album, it stands only equaled in the local progressive rap realm by A.Dd+’s classic 2011 When Pigs Fly, Blue the Misfit’s 2014 Child In The Wild rallying cry and Bobby Sessions’ breakthrough Law of Attraction from last year. Better yet, it does so as Sam’s stage presence is coming into its own and rivaling the versatility she’s shown in her recorded efforts since 2013.”

The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 20 to 11.
The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 40 to 21.
The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 60 to 41.
The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 80 to 61.
The Top 100 Dallas-Area Songs of 2016: 100 to 81.
The Top 100 Local Songs of 2015.

Great as the album is, several of its singles could have appeared in this top 100 list. (You’ll notice that “Gold Link” does appear at No. 21.) But the best of them all has got to be “Pineapple,” the anti-catcalling anthem that came out in this year’s prime catcalling summer months.

It’s even more fun and more poignant when paired with her husband Jeremy Bigger’s video treatment.

But lighthearted as the hook is, and colorful and playful as the video is, there’s a serious message being delivered here, too.

As Lao told Paper, “‘Pineapple’ is about a domestic male fantasy — ‘I’m referring to how you would tie up your hair when hanging around the house/relaxed. They wanna be close to me and see me in my most relaxed state.”

With lyrics like “Yeah, I got it / Yeah, I own it / It’s all mine so I can flaunt it,” the song is empowering, but not at the expense of catchiness or a good beat. The hook has nary left our heads for six months now, and we doubt it will anytime soon.

But it’s definitely a good thing for messages like this one to be drilled into our heads. In Trump’s grab-em-by-the-pussy America, Sam Lao is the type of feminist icon the DFW music scene both wants and needs.

The Full List: The Top 100 Local Songs of 2016.

100. Unlikely Candidates – “Ringer”
99. Hextape – “Candy”
98. FXXXY – “20 Taliband”
97. Ronnie Heart – “Smoovie”
96. Mimisiku – “I Can’t Sleep”
95. Sarah Jaffe – “Did David Feel Like This?”
94. Essay EyE – “Ultra Super Saiyan II”
93. Matt Tedder – “Down the Road”
92. Picnic Lightning – “American Ruin”
91. Joe Savage – “Your Drinkin'”
90. Snarky Puppy – “Tarova”
89. Sur Duda – “Fort Night”
88. KissedKilled – “Come Home With Me”
87. Giant of the Mountain – “Crawl”
86. Saint Clair – “Cookin'”
85. Cut Throat Finches – “Moon Beast”
84. Kino Kimino & Son of Stan – “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
83. Siberian Traps – “New Friend in Town”
82. Tony Ferraro – “The God of Homosexuals”
81. Vanesa Jessie – “Who I Am”
80. Court Hoang — “(I Should Have Done This) A Long Time Ago”
79. Cosmicide — “Everything’s Under Waves”
78. Starbass Laboratories — “Digital Age”
77. Rei Clone — “Ready to Die”
76. Joshua Dylan Balis — “Modern Gospel”
75. Grey Matter — “Scared Man” (feat. Alsace Carcione)
74. Kevin England — “I’m Stuck with this Commercial Rock (Put This Song In Your Business’ Next Commercial!)”
73. Medicine Man — “You Are Safe”
72. 88 Killa — “Boomerang”
71. Ari Roar — “Dove”
70. War Party — “Jellyfish”
69. Danny Diamonds — “Rachel”
68. Fat Pimp –- “Moves to Make” (feat. Lil Ronny MothaF)
67. Maren Morris — “80s Mercedes”
66. Party Static — “Wasted Waster”
65. The Longshots — “Fire Gospel”
64. Drakulas –- “Neon Town”
63. Gensu Dean & Denmark Vessey — “The Meek”
62. Corner Suns — “Borrowed Time”
61. School of Seven Bells — “On My Heart”
60. Oh Boy Prince — “Astronaut”
59. EB Rebel — “Colours”
58. Jacob Metcalf — “Cut Your Ties”
57. Danny Cainco — “I Do”
56. Native Fox — “Heart Will Never Change”
55. Rikki Blu — “All In”
54. Serrandon — “Late Night Meltdowns
53. Becky Middleton — “I’m Still Here”
52. Ish D — “Holding Aces”
51. Power Trip — “Firing Squad”
50. Devy Stonez — “Slow it Down” (feat KissedKilled)
49. Honor System — “Horror Scope”
48. Sad Cops — “Its Eating At Me”
47. Cozy Hawks — “True Pair”
46. Charley Crockett — “Silver Dagger”
45. Takeez — “Stokley Carmichael (feat. Bobby Sessions)”
44. Ishi — “Bring the Thunder”
43. Camp Anawanna — “Cool Shoes”
42. Quaker City Night Hawks — “Mockingbird”
41. Post Malone — “Leave”
40. The Phantom Sensation — “Firewalkin'”
39. Bowling for Soup — “Don’t Be a Dick”
38. The Misteries — “Love Drugs”
37. Thin Skin — “Trump Is a Pig”
36. Xes — “Troll”
35. Relick — “Offering”
34. Bruce Parker — “Blindside”
33. True Widow — “Theurgist”
32. John Congleton & The Nighty Nite — “Animal Rites”
31. RC & The Gritz — “The Feel”
30. Tiger + Man — “Wondering”
29. NEONNOAH — “Dreaming With the Lights On”
28. Trai Bo — “C U L8R”
27. Lizzie Boredom — “Crunk Punk (So… You’re a Mixologist)”
26. Motorcade — “Recover”
25. Norah Jones — “Flipside”
24. EATQS — “Symmetry”
23. Jesus Chris + The Beetles — “I’m a Bad Person and I’m Going to Hell”
22. Pageantry — “Teenage Crime Wave”
21. Sam Lao — “Gold Link”
20. RVNES — “Code 10” (feat Lil Ronny Motha F, Fat Pimp)
19. Conor Wallace — “Asshole in Your House”
18. Ashley Myrick — “Stay for a While”
17. Coach Tev — “Lefty”
16. Felix — “peanut butter an yo…”
15. Paul Cauthen — “Still Drivin”
14. Jack Ingram — “Blaine’s Ferris Wheel”
13. Parquet Courts — “Berlin Got Blurry”
12. Leon Bridges and Lecrae — “On My Own”
11. Astronautalis — “Attila Ambrus”
10. Medasin — “Public Service Announcement” (featuring Josh Pan)
9. Pueblo — “Drive Safe”
8. A.Dd+ — “Dallas Flexas”
7. Curtis Mayz — “Candy Coated Caddy”
6. Conner Youngbloood — “A Summer Song”
5. Post Malone — “Deja Vu”
4. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein – “Stranger Things”
3. Sam Lao – “Pineapple”
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