Purchased pre-downturn, these were a surprisingly wise investment.
R. Kelly: "Love Letter" 
This is Kelly in his sunniest mode, stepping through not-exactly-bygone R&B while canned drums burble gently in the background. The lyric is pretty brilliant, too. It’s a deceptively artless stream of consciousness on people’s motives for writing love letters, incorporated into his own act of writing, so that, without a shred of detail about Kelly’s surroundings, I can envision him sitting at his dining room table writing his letter, pausing every once in a while to ruminate on the nature of letter writing itself. And in my imagination, his dining room table is my dining room table, which in turn makes me think I should catch up on my correspondence. I mean, wow — talk about collapsing distinctions between life and art, between artist and audience.
Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland: "Gone" 
Less a sequel than a re-imagining: what if “Dilemma” didn’t have a hook?
...et le mot juste:
Thompson Square: "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" 
Devoid of narrative tension in the same way as Rodney Atkins’s terrible “Farmer’s Daughter” — they get together, fall in love, get married, everybody’s happy all the time, and I grow wistful for a closing-verse death scene where someone recontextualizes the title by singing it to Jesus. But at least they’re better singers than Atkins, and the melody’s got some tug to it.
Toro y Moi: "Still Sound" 
The Decemberists: "Down By the Water"