Mario’s long-delayed album D.N.A. arrives in stores today featuring collaborations with Ludacris and Gucci Mane. Is the R&B’s crooner’s fourth effort a match with critics? Find out below.
Entertainment Weekly: Indeed, on his fourth album, D.N.A., the singer tends to get lost inside state-of-the-art tracks by a cornucopia of A-list writers and producers, including Babyface, Stargate, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream himself, whose signature future-soul sound lends some sparkle to the lovely “Starlight.” B-
USA Today: With each new album, Mario, who made his debut as a 15-year-old seven years ago, has grown a little more adventurous artistically. Whether pledging to stay or pointedly saying goodbye, his smooth, emotive vocals hit the right notes. 3 out of 4
Newsday: His take on the catchy “Thinkin’ About You” comes close to his smash “Let Me Love You,” while “Soundtrack to My Broken Heart” is the kind of chugging undeniable pop hit that could have been a hit for anyone from Daughtry to Beyoncé. B+
The Boston Globe: Throughout this unfussy, beautifully sung set, the 23-year-old Mario taps into the tenderness of early Maxwell. One of the best tracks is “Starlight,” an uptempo groove about unabated passion; the beat is crisp and Mario’s singing so smooth that Stevie Wonder would approve.
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Break Up,” “Thinkin’ About You,” “Starlight,” “I Choose You”