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Album Review

Nelly, '5.0'

November 15, 2010

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It might be an accident that the word “gone’’ appears in the title of two key tracks on Nelly’s comeback, but you get the sense that the St. Louis MC realizes that if he didn’t fire up a hit-laden set, his teetering career might vanish. Nelly has recruited an all-star supporting cast and emerged with a tuneful mainstream effort that should yield a number of hits. He already has a major single with “Just a Dream,’’ which is a hip-hop equivalent of a power ballad with its ascending musical track and broad love/loss lyrics (“if you ever loved somebody put your hands up’’). That song captures the design of many of these cuts: Hooks are prominent while Nelly’s patented tricky flow is often smoothed out. There are misfires with some crossover attempts. “Making Movies’’ finds the MC coasting (“Jacuzzi,’’ “booty,’’ “movie’’). He can do better, and does so on the club-aimed “Move That Body,’’ “Don’t It Feel Good,’’ and the hard-edged “1000 Stacks,’’ which echoes his early work. Of course, Kelly Rowland appears for the melodic “Gone,’’ a companion to their smash, “Dilemma.’’ Not as artistically assured as it is commercially savvy, much of this disc still works. (Out tomorrow) KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Don’t It Feel Good’’