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Turning Point (J Records)

Our rating: 7/10 User rating: 7.7/10 69 votes

In Summary : Good sophomore effort from 18 year-old R&B; junior heartthrob.

Mario has reached a turning point in his life. In the track "18," Mario reminds us that we shouldn't compare him to Usher, as he's only turned 18 years old and has years to catch up with the R&B; superstar. He's definitely on this way though, as his first single "Let Me Love You" has already struck a chord with the R&B; audience. Slow jams and ballads are Mario's forte, as evident in songs "Like Me Real Hard," "Directions," and the second single "How Could You," -- inspired by Mario's personal heartbreak -- which is quite a grower after a few spins.

Sentimental emotions aside, Mario also turns it up on club tracks like "Call The Cops," "Couldn't Say No," "Here I Go Again," "Shakedown," and "Boom." Produced by Lil Jon, "Boom" sounds like a recycled version of Usher's "Yeah" and it is probably a tribute to Mario's idol, whom Mario credits for opening the door for other young crooners. The amusingly titled and reggae-tinged "Nikes Fresh Out The Box," written about Mario's search for the girl of his dreams, is also a fun track to listen to as well.

Overall, Turning Point is a noteworthy effort for Mario as he experiments with reggae/hip-hop/R&B; styles, in hope of finding his niche in the urban music world.

-- Angelina Yeo

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