It comes as a surprise to British and Irish listeners to discover that Nelly didn’t drop off the face of the planet after his 2002 collaboration with Kelly Rowland. But Nelly’s been plugging away in the intervening years, mostly in his native USA, with varying degrees of success.
His return is not only unexpected, but it’s a genuine delight to have Nelly back in the charts again. Just A Dream is his attempt at a more romantic style of tune, but he still manages to factor in his trademark Heyyyyy! Ho! sound into an unusually strong comeback single.
I don’t know about you, but Nelly’s got a shockingly good singing voice. It becomes clear during the verses of this that he’s got a rich, slightly gruff tone that’s easy on the ear. The verses themselves aren’t the highlight of Just A Dream, it’s the ethereal chorus that really grabs the listener. Nice mix of swirling guitar arpeggios and synth make this totally contemporary, but retaining a lot of the sound that old-school Nelly fans will instantly identify with.
The video’s a surreal piece, with large automotive objects simply floating in the air above the beach and things like that. Everything feeds into that dreamlike vibe that the song creates, but I have to moan about the shattering eyeball. I hate scenes like that – anything to do with damage to the eyes makes me squeamish. Well, at least Nelly will know for next time.
An excellent comeback for a hip-hop superstar who we thought we’d seen the last of. Hopefully the next single will be just as strong as this one was.