10 of '05

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01. Amerie - "1 Thing"
The bumper car to "Why Don't We Fall in Love"'s Ferris wheel. Moments in Love: 0:00-3:58.

02. Steve Spacek - "Dollar"
As much as I dig the two group-Spacek albums, you can't really cite anything off either one as a proper single. They're more like extended mood pieces, drifting and floating and hovering with pauses every four or five minutes. That might be part of why Spacek hooked up here with Dilla. "Dollar" is most definitely a single, with the Billy Paul specter as important as the beat. My hope is that the third group-Spacek album will fall somewhere between this and Curvatia.

03. Teairra Marí - "Make Her Feel Good"
"Make Her Feel Good" had me baffled at first. My first thought, without knowing the singer's name, was that she had her Teena Marie pout down (and for some time there wasn't much available info about her). Come to find out that her name is like an anagram for Teena Marie. More baffling is that her Roc-a-Fella album has no guest MCs (and is 40 minutes long). The whole disc's tight, but if there's one other track that needs to be singled out, it's "Get Up on Ya Gangsta," written by Teedra Moses and Poli Paul.

04. Anthony Hamilton - "Georgie Parker"
Yes, this is off Soulife (the disc of previously-in-limbo recordings), not Ain't Nobody Worryin' (which deserves more attention). Just a few seconds ago, as I was preparing an attempt at demonstrating the devastating weight of this song, I looked over to my son to see him smiling and clapping along. So to hell with it. Maybe it's not as sobering as I thought.

05. Yummy Bingham - "Come Get It"
Like Ian, I was surprised -- amazed, really -- this rallying Just Blaze production for a former Rayne member went nowhere. I saw it on BET and heard it in a car commercial within a week and figured it would take over. And then -- poof! -- it vanished. Either it wasn't properly pushed or the shrillish vocals (some SWV echoes) were too off-putting. Bingham's godparents: Chaka Khan and Aaron Hall.

06. Tweet - "Iceberg"
This is one of the slowest songs on a slow album, and it radiates the effect of a toe-tickling and a deep-tissue massage taking place simultaneously.

07. Mary J. Blige - "MJB da MVP"
Twenty-point co-sign in excelcis, though there are at least three other Breakthrough tracks I'd place above it.

08. Usher - "Caught Up"
And one of the best tracks on Confessions still hasn't been released as a single. After "Yeah!" appeared to be on the brink of peaking, I figured the Holland-Dozier-Holland-sampling "Throwback" would be next – it would've made a perfect summer single. Nope: "Yeah!" kept going, then came the funny "Burn," then the even funnier "Confessions" (all the while, "Yeah!" kept going), then the less serious and less funny (but much more swinging) "Caught Up." The "Caught Up" on the '05 Dwele album, which isn't nearly as good as the "Caught Up" on the '04 Teedra Moses album, is almost as good.

09. Silhouette Brown - "Spread That"
A low-key single from an album produced by Kaidi Tatham and Dego McFarlane, the closest the two will get to making a Patrice Rushen record (mostly in the way the feathery upbeat vocals never override the sparkling electric keys). It's a wisp compared to "1 Thing," but if "Remind Me" and "1999" can go together on a year-end list, there's no reason why these later opposites can't coexist in a similar space.

10. Marques Houston - "All Because of You"
"Since you're obviously not going to release 'Throwback' as a single, I will release a slower version with a similarly nostalgic sample."

Other bright spots: Tori "Maybe I'm" Alamaze's "Don't Cha," Ashanti's "Still on It," Ciara's "Oh," Keyshia Cole's "I Should Have Cheated," Raheem DeVaughn's "Guess Who Loves You More?," Dwele's "I Think I Love U," Hamilton's "Can’t Let Go," Ne-Yo's "So Sick," One Twelve's "U Already Know," Platinum Pied Pipers' "I Got You," Sa-Ra's "The Second Time Around," Tweet's "Turn da Lights Off," Brooke Valentine's "Long as You Come Home," Bobby Valentino's "Tell Me."