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Turning Point

Mario

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Album Review

Two years after getting his foot in the door of contemporary urban music with a straight-faced cover of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," Mario returned with his sophomore album, Turning Point, and its money lead single, "Let Me Love You." Produced and co-written by Scott Storch, fresh off the summertime success of his "Lean Back" chart-topper for Terror Squad, "Let Me Love You" has all the makings of a gigantic urban hit. It's by far the best song Mario has yet recorded, and it's one of the best contemporary R&B songs of the year, right up there with the best offerings of Usher, Alicia Keys, and company. However, there's not much else on Turning Point that comes close to matching the balladic magic of "Let Me Love You." 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. Some of the slower songs like "How Could You" are quite likable, in a quiet storm sort of way. 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.

Biography

Born: August 27, 1986 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s

Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, R&B vocalist Mario started to develop his natural talent while singing along with his mom using a karaoke machine at home. Discovered at the age of 11 in a local talent show, he later traveled to New York City to establish a career and scored a contract with Clive Davis' J label. Following his contribution to the Dr. Doolittle 2 soundtrack and a captivating performance of Stevie Wonder's "You and I" at Davis' Grammy party in February 2002, the newcomer was primed...
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Turning Point, Mario
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