A good mix of romantic ballads and up-tempo floorfillers.
Sophie Bruce 2007-11-29
Two-time Grammy nominee Mario has pulled out all the big guns for album number three, Go. He may only be 20 years old, but an early start has led to half a decade in the industry and a lot of powerful friendships. A-list names like Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Jermaine Dupri and Akon grace the list of producer credits, which reads like a role call for the hip-hop Who’s Who.
First single “How Do I Breathe” only reached 21 in the UK charts in August, although it is still scoring huge UK airplay. You may even have already heard the follow up track “Crying Out For Me”. Don’t let the singles so far fool you though – this is much more than another portion of R'n'B lite.
Mario admits he’s holding nothing back on the new disc, which he describes as ‘sexier, more passionate and more personal’. Lyrical content is certainly more adult, for example as he attempts to seduce with “Lay In My Bed” and wrestles with his two-timing conscience on “Kryptonite”. There’s some explicit content - even one use of the controversial n-word - but it’s sparingly sprinkled and doesn’t seem to be included for shock value.
Title track (and album opener) “Go” bursts into life sounding like a modern day take on Prince and the NPG’s mid-nineties finery. And diehard fans will enjoy the bonus track; a simple but stunning acoustic reworking of his biggest hit thus far – 2005’s “Let Me Love You”. In his native America the original earned him a Billboard No.1, but in the UK it stalled just short at No.2.
The production values are slicker and the beats snappier than on his two previous albums, which between them earned him more than half a million UK sales. There’s a good mix of romantic ballads and up-tempo floorfillers and while his contemporaries (Usher, Justin Timberlake, Omarion, Ne-Yo) churn out identikit baby-voiced falsetto tunes, Mario’s distinctive voice is earthier and more mature with the underlying power of a young Luther Vandross. Be very surprised if one of Go’s many treats doesn’t earn him a long overdue chart topper on this side of the pond.