Released November 2010 by Universal Motown
Whether it's the smooth, regret-filled, midtempo hit "Just a Dream," the driving club ready dance pop of "Liv Tonight," or all stops out romantic pop ballad "Nothing Without Her," Nelly has turned to pop music audiences for commercial resurrection. This is clearly a hip hop album for pop fans. It turns out, in this case, that is a good thing. There is plenty of pleasing music here, and none of it really should be a big surprise from the man who had one of his biggest hits in duet with country superstar Tim McGraw.
Nelly Hits a Contemporary Groove
A commercially appealing fusion of pop and hip hop is one of the significant music stories of 2010. It's possible to even see rapper Flo Rida, with his unabashedly pop anthems "Right Round" and "Low," as a bit of a pioneer. Among top new artists this year, B.o.B., Mike Posner, and Nicki Minaj are all riding pop-infused brands of hip hop to massive popularity. Is Nelly joining a bandwagon or just detecting the direction of the wind? It doesn't really matter, because Nelly 5.0 is a solid collection of songs.
There is still some raw hip hop here with "1000 Stacks" sampling the Notorious B.I.G. and "Broke" featuring a rugged rap from Yo Gotti. However, "1000 Stacks" fades into the effort to recapture the past magic of "Dilemma" on the new smooth R&B duet "Gone" with Kelly Rowland. "Broke" is followed by the thoroughly contemporary dance-pop anthem "Liv Tonight" kicked off with Keri Hilson proclaiming, "I just wanna live tonight!"
Slick and Faceless?
On the down side here, the effort to embrace the latest in pop trends can sound a bit faceless and overly slick at times. The loverman sex ballad "Making Movies" and the sort of generically Usher influenced style of "Don't It Feel Good" are forgettable. However, there is something about "Just a Dream" that raises the recording above the ordinary and sounds timeless. Likewise, the Dr. Luke produced "Move That Body" sounds nearly as catchy as the Nelly classic "Hot In Herre."
Top Tracks On 'Nelly 5.0'
- "Just a Dream"
- "Move That Body" featuring Akon and T-Pain
- "Liv Tonight" featuring Keri Hilson
- "Nothing Without Her"
Nelly Is Back
Nelly is back, and he's riding a pop wave to commercial success. If you were looking for gritty hip hop, you will likely be disappointed by most of Nelly 5.0. However, if you want to embrace a catchy pop and hip hop fusion, this is the album for you. Nelly leads the party, and simple asks you to drop any pretensions and have a good time.