Album Review: Mario - D.N.A.

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 6:28 AM

Artist: Mario
Album: D.N.A.
Release Date: 10.12.09

The Good: The lead single was a good move: Break Up is the type of club record most R&B singers only dream of while its follow-up Thinkin’ About You re-introduces the more familiar Mario with a very clean, fresh sound and a thumping bass line. The rest of the music on D.N.A. pushes the listener further into the mind of the man Mario has become. There’s a mesh of emotion-ridden lyrics and soulful vocals in the ballads like Stranded, I Choose You and Soundtrack to My Broken Heart. The lyrics bear a great use of imagery and storytelling on I Miss My Friend and Before She Said Hi, both are very poetic. Starlight bears a very versatile sound, a sort of neo-disco feel as Mario plays the impatient yet reserved lover. On the flipside, Mario is at his wit’s end in an unhappy situation on Get Out which has more stressed undertones and an angry verse from Ludacris to help convey the story. Don’t Walk Away is another favorite, a power ballad delivered beautifully over a screaming guitar. The vocals are very raw and open on the closing track The Hardest Moment, and the emotions run deep in the lyrics.

The Ungood: There’s not much to dislike about this album. There were a few spots where I felt Mario sounded a bit restrained, like on Starlight. Though it’s a great track, I felt he held back a bit. There are moments where Mario's vocals get a bit whiny and nasally which can be annoying, but th

The Bottom Line: D.N.A. is a mature mix of R&B, hip-hop and soft pop records, but most importantly this album is his most honest and vulnerable to date, a true reflection of his inner being. The great thing about this album is that it's not dominated by the often-overpowering production by today's biggest producers. Outside of Break Up, the production here is very simple and gives way for Mario’s piercing vocals to take center stage and he delivers 100%. As it should, and as his other albums do, D.N.A. focuses on Mario’s mature vocals, toggling easily and intelligently between his warm lower tones and his rich falsetto. The content is mature and versatile and you can hear his growth as an artist and a man. The delivery on this album is excellent and the title is most appropriate. After listening to this album, Mario's DNA is pure music and love.

Sound-Savvy rates D.N.A. with 4 out of 5 platinum headphones.

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