Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland – Dilemma

First Hit #1: August 17, 2002

Nelly’s first hit was silly song, so it’s inevitable that the follow up is serious. It’s a common pattern, an artist who can be funny has to prove they are a serious artist, so they go with a song that’s relatively serious but a lot less interesting. Dilemma is at least a compelling idea – a debate about breaking up an old relationship for a new one – and it does have the lovely voice of Kelly Rowland, the most neglected of Destiny’s Child. It’s not bad at all, it’s not as creative as Hot in Herre, or as happily odd, but it’s certainly a song with merit, and is part of an overall trend where I realize that I like Nelly a lot more than I thought I did. Still, his strength is that he’s not a “serious” artist, he’s someone who is at his best when he’s having goofy fun, and while Dilemma is pretty good as these kind of template love songs go, it’s not quite as inventive as Nelly can be when he puts his mind to it.

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2 Responses to Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland – Dilemma

  1. RBerman says:

    As I mentioned yesterday, Nelly is not really a rapper; he’s a singer whose melodies have only two or three notes, reminiscent of Bone Thugz-N-Harmony . Anyway, Rowland gets the actual melodic line, and it’s quite pretty, although the lyrics about “unsatisfiable attraction” are sad. Good for Rowland beating Beyoncé Knowles to #1 as a solo artist! Including Nelly’s name in Rowland’s lyrica (twice that I counted) was a questionable choice, though. It would be like Streisand and Diamond mentioning each other’s names during “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” Songs should be generalizable to the listener, and those sort of lyrics work against that goal.

  2. heavily samples Love, Need and Want You by Patti LaBelle — who appears as Kelly’s mom in the video, from her 1983 album I’m in Love Again — the same album with her well-remembered and much-covered #1 R&B/#46 pop single If Only You Knew

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