Mario: Go

Lately Mario’s been about being a grown man. Further proving that fact, Mario spearheaded a documentary on his mother’s addiction to heroine. Now his third installment, Go [J Records] brings forth a fuller-voiced Mario leaving behind songs that emulate the stylistically “Let Me Love You.” In place of those songs is a grown-up theme album in the route of Usher’s My Way, Omarion’s 21, and Ciara’s The Evolution, though the actuality that he’s grown up isn’t the face of the album. Go gives more attention to the situations that a growing man his age might be going through.There are unfit moments on Go, as they lay in Mario’s efforts to sound grown which he’s already exuded in the heartfelt slow tempo songs. They display a man able show vulnerability without begging. Then there are the up-tempo moments, like the title track, “Skippin,” and “Let Me Watch” that aren’t the best in showing his vocal maturity. In its place is your younger cousin trying to hang with the big boys and it’s unneeded – we’ve got Chris Brown for that. That makes Go uneven because Mario’s growth is evident before those moments.Vocally, there is something different coming from the speakers - a thicker and raspier voice. Go’s the platform for a mature voice that competes with Usher, and surpasses him in its range and capacity of really hitting the gut-wrenching notes. Most noticeably in “Crying Out For Me,” you hear a man not pleading but asking his committed girlfriend to be with him. “Do Right” might actually be the only hint into Mario’s private life – an obvious ode to his mother’s addiction. He sings, “That’s why I’m here to help you fight to do right.” A few more of these autobiographical tracks could have catapulted the coming of age album into a different stratosphere. That was the intention as Akon, Polow Da Don, Pharrell Williams, Stargate, The Clutch, and Timbaland were all recruited for Go.It’s easy to hear that Go may have been Mario’s “baby-record” but there’s no wonderment as to why there wasn’t a more commanding marketing and publicity set-up. Go is lacking a monster-hit song – not for the sake of being popular, but for masses to recognize Mario’s vocal supremacy in the land of Ushers. It would have been even superior if Go opened the window for a full glimpse into Mario’s personal havoc. With a voice like his, damn, it would have been amazing.