Mario – Go! Review
Mario’s album, Go was originally titled Mario Barrett – Effortless and set for release in November of 2006. Since then, the album has been delayed 6 times with the final release date being December 11. Even then, there were doubts if it was to be released based upon lack of promotion and poor performance of the singles in comparison to Mario’s previous songs such as “Let Me Love You” in 2004.
Mario’s previous album, Turning Point was successful both critically and commercially with the album receiving a platinum certification. Three years without much promotion and a deal of time being, spent working in movies (Step Up and Freedom Writers) has slowly caused Mario to drop out of the public eye in regards to the music community.
With the album finally being released, in a day and age of rapidly declining album sales, does Mario’s latest effort, Go! make a mark in today’s R&B scene? On the other hand, is it going to be another bland effort in an over-saturated market?
2. Crying Out For Me
4. Music For Love^
5. Kryptonite Ft. Rich Boy
6. How Do I Breathe?
7. No Definition
9. Lay In My Bed
10. Right And A Wrong Way
11. Let Me Watch Ft. Juelz Santana
12. Do Right
13. Let Me Love You (Acoustic)^ (UK/Japan Bonus track)
2. Crying Out For Me
3. Kryptonite Ft. Rich Boy
5. How Do I Breathe?
6. No Definition
7. What’s It Gonna Be?^
8. Lay In My Bed
9. Right And A Wrong Way
10. Do Right
11. Ghetto Love^
12. Let Me Watch Ft. Juelz Santana
*Japan/UK track listing
^Indicates tracks that are different on each release
I can’t seem to determine which release will receive more exposure in the United States so I’ve included both track lists. Whilst there are two different songs on each release, the general order of the songs is uniform for both releases. As you’ll see however, the different songs are quite different so we’ll go through both releases simultaneously.
Opening up both albums is the title track, “Go” which was a terrible choice to be honest. The beat is very redundant and since provided by The Neptunes, it has a very typical feel of what they usually put out. The song itself features some profanity and it feels out of place and forced, ultimately coming off as an uninspired and poor song. Added to this is the fact that the song is about wanting to f*** a girl without strings attached and we’re off to a great start.
Next up is “Crying Out For Me” which was the second single for the album. Featuring a much better instrumental than the previous track (care of Polow Da Don), Mario sings a heartfelt ode to a girl in a detrimental relationship who is suffering and wanting to show her how much he loves her. The hook is a little weak but otherwise it’s a very strong song.
“Skippin’ “ and “Music For Love” appear only on the UK/Japan version. “Skippin’ “ is terrible featuring production by Mad Scientist which sounds like a horrible combination of something the Ying Yang Twins would rap over and Lil Jon, if he used something other than synthesizers in his production. The hook also literally skips on itself, which gets irritating upon subsequent listens. “Music For Love” is significantly better with better production more fitting to Mario’s voice whilst he uses Music as a metaphor for love and making love (rather than f***ing, there’s a difference).
“Kryptonite” is an incredible song. The instrumental is engaging and emotional with a beautiful piano loop giving Mario a fitting backdrop to sing about how he loves his girl and how she’s his kryptonite. Unfortunately, Rich Boy manages to kill virtually any momentum the song had with a horrid verse with bland commercial rhymes typical of what you’d find in most Top 40 rap songs these days. Even the change up in the beat can’t save his verse from dragging the song down in the end.
“How Do I Breathe?”, “No Definition” and “Why” are up next in a different order on both releases. Stargate production team continue their recent success with “How Do I Breathe?” which was the lead single for the album and played to Mario’s strengths with a soft beat similar in ways to “Let Me Love You” and is one of the best songs on the album as he laments a lost love.
“No Definition” features a beat by Timbaland and is a bit everywhere, managing to sound like a half dozen of Timbo’s most recent singles and drowns out the vocals at points making the song difficult to listen to. The song itself isn’t too bad but doesn’t manage to inspire beyond the strong performance on the hook.
“Why” is another highlight with a powerful beat by The Underdogs. A strong hook coupled with heartfelt verses questioning a girl as to why she’s staying in a relationship with Mario despite her buying into rumors about him and the way he supposedly treats her.
“What’s It Gonna Be” has a subdued beat, a nice change from some of the overpowering ones previously heard, and is simplistic in nature, which matches the simplistic nature of the song. Mario’s verses are straightforward and directed at a girl who is trying to juggle to men in her life (one of them being Mario) and wanting her to choose one or the other. The other different song, “Ghetto Love” is a little forgettable, certainly not bad, but could have been better.
“Lay In My Bed” and “Right And A Wrong Way” follow with the former featuring a deep and powerful beat over which Mario sings about making love rather than making up (patching up an argument). The latter has a slower beat and whilst Mario has arguably one his best vocal performances on the track, it unfortunately drags on clocking in at over 5 minutes.
“Do Right” is the best song on the album with a soulful beat produced by Akon and touches on issues such as his love for his family and his mother’s heroin addiction and wanting to help her. MTV actually aired a special back in October that inspired this song as Mario attempted to enlist family and friends to help his mother.
Finally, we come to “Let Me Watch” which isn’t very good. Mario sounds pained (and not in an emotional way, but rather a strained way), the beat sounds like a reject from a Ying Yang Twins album (done by Mr. Collipark so what do you expect?) and Juelz Santana does nothing beyond sandwiching Mario’s verses with terrible rhyming.
The bonus track, “Let Me Love You” features a wonderful beat but the song is so old and was so overplayed back in 2004/2005, it’s an unnecessary inclusion on the album.
The 411: The UK/Japan edition is slightly better than the other version because of the inclusion of “Music For Love” but overall, there isn’t much difference. Go wasn’t necessarily worth the wait but it’s certainly not a bad album by any means. Production is generally quite powerful and passionate but drowns out Mario’s vocals at times making it difficult to understand. Despite these flaws though, Mario turns in one of his strongest overall performances to date and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan or into the contemporary R&B scene.
|Final Score: 7.0 [ Good ] legend|