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Album Review: Mario - "Go"

Good Guy Gone Wild

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

By

Album Review: Mario -

U.S. album cover © J Records.

The originally scheduled release date for Mario's third album was November 2006, but it wasn't until December 2007 that it eventually came out. And after finally listening to the final version of the album, one thought immediately comes to mind: all that wait for this? Just like about half the male R&B singers under 30 out there, Mario has bitten a big chunk out of Usher's vocal style, plus added some R. Kelly-style raunch to his lyrics, seemingly to shake things up and throw some dirt on his previously squeaky clean image. But Mario's occasional bawdiness here is crude, distasteful and completely unnecessary.

Squeaky-Clean No More

Go is the first Mario album that carries a parental advisory sticker, and for very good reason. On the album's opening song, the high-cardio, Neptunes-produced title track, "Go." On the song, Mario (he pronounces his name mary-oh) shows that he's headed in a very adult direction with his third album:
"Hey, I think I really wanna be your lover, Not the one you wake up to, A n*gga call and touch ya, don't wanna f**k you like no other I'm not tryna Range Rov truck ya, or diamond clutch ya, Ain't really tryna meet yo mother, just wanna f**k you like no other.
The good and bad news is that "Go" is by far the worst track on the album. There's other not-so-good songs, like "Kryptonite," featuring crap rapper Rich Boy and "Let Me Watch," with Dipset scrub Juelz Santana, but they don't match "Go" for sheer crappiness.

As you might expect if you're at all familiar with Mario's work, the best songs here are the tender ballads. The first two singles, "How Do I Breathe" and "Crying Out for Me" aren't masterpieces, but they're among the album's better tracks, as is the uplifting "Do Right." But the songs that take the cake (in a good way) are Mario's cover of Keith Sweat's "Right and a Wrong Way," and an acoustic version of "Let Me Love You" that's available on the UK and Japanese versions of the album. Both are beautifully-sung songs whose tremendous emotional impact ultimately rescues the album. So the bottom line here is when he sticks to familiar territory - lush, romantic ballads and mid-tempo tracks - he sounds great. But when he tries uptempo party tunes and sex songs, he's lost.

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