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Mario

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Mario 7/23/2002

Review

When considering the abilities and potential of teen pop stars from any genre, a certain amount of cynicism is not only healthy, but practically essential. Yet if you indulge too deeply, you overlook performers like Mario, the Baltimore-born singer whose Top Ten debut still flew under a lot of people's radars in a year dominated by B2K, Bow Wow, and other pubescent urban artists. Mario's self-titled first album, however, offers doses of the real thing; its combination of Nickelodeon-style charm and authentic substance are reminiscent of nothing so much as a young Michael Jackson, with none of the creepy subtext. While it misses out on the humor of the original, the cover of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" proves a shrewd update of the unwillingly platonic classic, and serves as a gateway to better originals, including a few slow numbers most teens have neither the chutzpah to try or the chops to handle. "Chick Wit' da Braids" and the swirling, organ-laced "Never" lead that pack, and the second song about cornrows, "Braid My Hair," manages to evoke the downside of being a child star without sounding like an ungrateful punk. Naturally, you have to excuse a certain amount of filler to believe fully in Mario's potential, but most of these 11 tracks offer generous hints of it. ~ Dan LeRoy
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Just a Friend Mario 3:33
  3. 2 C'mon Mario 3:24
  4. 3 Braid My Hair Mario 4:6
  5. 4 2 Train Mario 4:1
  6. 5 What Your Name Is Mario 5:56
  7. 6 Holla Back Mario 3:36
  8. 7 Could U Be Mario 4:7
  9. 8 Put Me On Mario 3:40
  10. 9 Chick Wit da Braids Mario 3:48
  11. 10 Never Mario 3:56
  12. 11 Girl in the Picture Mario 4:31

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