Turning Point

Studio Album by released in 2004
Turning Point's tracklist:
18 (feat. Cassidy)
Let Me Love You
Couldn't Say No
Boom
How Could You
Girl I Need
Call the Cops
Here I Go Again
Nikes Fresh Out the Box
Directions
Like Me Real Hard
Shakedown
Let Me Love You (remix)

Turning Point review

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mario started improving his natural vocal skills while singing along with his mom using a karaoke machine at home. The promising singer was discovered at the age of 11 in a local talent show. The pop-rap enthusiast traveled to N.Y.C. to become a new R&B artist, developed by producer Clive Davis soon after. At the age of 15, Mario debuted with the release of Just a Friend 2002, based on rapper Biz Markie's hit Just a Friend. His self-titled album followed in July, featuring contributions by Grammy-winning Alicia Keys. After two years after getting his foot in the door of contemporary urban music he returned with his sophomore album, Turning Point. It is mainly about him losing a girl, and finding out she was cheating on him, and now she decides that her new man is not treating her the way she wants, so she goes back to Mario.

In the opening track 18 Mario introduces us to his world. He's a man of some confidence and style – but with two albums under his belt at such a young age he has every right to blow his own trumpet. The stand out track Let Me Love You has tugged at the heartstrings of the R&B audience, becoming a club, party and car stereo anthem on both sides of the Atlantic. Its smooth and soulful narrative sets the tone for much of this album. Slow jams are Mario's forte and tracks like How Could You, Directions and Like Me Real Hard are fine examples, giving you butterflies in your stomach and sending shivers down your spine - not for the faint hearted! The other immediate highlight is Boom, a by-the-numbers rewrite of Usher's Yeah, which likewise boasts Lil Jon's trademark production, a guest rap cameo (from Juvenile, in this case), a dance club theme, and a catchy, simple one-syllable refrain. There's also an album-closing remix of Let Me Love You that aims for the streets, featuring grown-up raps by Jadakiss and T.I. as well as a much edgier yet still infectious beat. Above all, though, it's Let Me Love You and its remix that make Turning Point a noteworthy effort for this teenager and a fine second album overall.

R&B wunderkind Mario is still too young to buy a girl a drink, but he aims his soulful weapons of mass seduction at women of all ages. Though the Baltimore-born singer is newly legal, his enticingly even-toned voice – smooth as R. Kelly’s – transcends teen-pop. Only his age-appropriate tracks — the singsong club jingle Girl I Need, or the irony-free homage to Nikes Fresh Out The Box — remind us that Mario is not a boy, but not yet a man. The aptly titled Turning Point celebrates the coming of age of a major talent. Overall, the lyrics of the album may have bombed, but the vocals are some of the best in the music industry. In this era of romantic R&B Mario is leading the way for a new generation of soulful crooners, and - just like a fine wine - he's only going to improve with age.

(12.07.2005)
Rate review4.77
Total votes - 311


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