Mario's vocal talent attracted attention two years ago with breakout single "Just a Friend 2002" from his self-titled album. Sophomore set "Turning Point" represents the 18-year-old's transition both

Mario's vocal talent attracted attention two years ago with breakout single "Just a Friend 2002" from his self-titled album. Sophomore set "Turning Point" represents the 18-year-old's transition both age-wise and musically. His more mature sound and opposite-sex outlook, expressed with R&B/pop crossover ballad "Let Me Love You," has already struck a chord with listeners. A remix, included on the album, features Jadakiss and T.I. Throughout the set, Mario calls to mind a younger version of Usher or Michael Jackson. That comparison works to full effect on ballad "How Could You," reggae-flavored midtempo charmer "Girl I Need" and the uptempo "Call the Cops." One glitch in the proceedings is "Boom" with rapper Juvenile. Produced by Lil Jon, it's too derivative of Usher's 2004 megahit, "Yeah!" Overall, though, Mario winningly leaps over the sophomore hurdle. - GM

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