D.N.A. (Mario album)
|Studio album by Mario|
October 12, 2009|
(see release history)
|Recorded||February 2008 — March 2009|
|Genre||R&B, hip hop, hip hop soul|
Peter Edge & Mario (exec.)|
Jim Jonsin, Stargate, Bangladesh, The Runners, Los Da Mystro, Eric Hudson, Chris "Tricky" Stewart, The Monarch, Rico Love, Sean Garrett, The-Dream, Babyface, Dre & Vidal, Elvis "BlacElvis" Williams, Jackpot, Malay & Kawan "KP" Prather
|Singles from D.N.A.|
D.N.A. (previously known as And Then There Was Me) is the fourth studio album by American R&B singer Mario. It was released first in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2009 by RCA Records and the following day in the US with J Records. On the album Mario has worked with previous hitmakers Bryan-Michael Cox as well as new collaborators including The-Dream, Soundz and Jim Jonsin amongst others.
The album's lead single "Break Up" features Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane. It was released on April 28, 2009 in the US, peaking at number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart and 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his most successful single in five years since, "Let Me Love You". The second single, "Thinkin' About You" was released on September 4, 2009.
Recording and production
At the end of 2007 Mario told Billboard Magazine that he had already begun designing the concept for his new album and that production would begin in February 2008. Later in an interview he described this album as World music, an old school R&B influenced with a modern dance pop sound and calling this the "most personal, colossal album of his career".
In late 2008 a track titled "Emergency Room" leaked to the internet, credited to Mario and featuring Rihanna, and also played by various radio stations throughout the country. Initially people were quick to assume it was Rihanna on the track, as the studio vocalist Priscilla Renea's voice resembled Rihanna's. The song is produced by Soundz Also the song's title was especially controversial, because of the situation which Rihanna is with her boyfriend Chris Brown, which Vibe.com has documented extensively. Of the song Mario said "This was a rough cut that I was working on and wanted to present it to Rihanna and her record label. Those aren't Rihanna's vocals on the song at all. The record was far from done. I'm still proud of the record but want to make sure that the truth is out there."
Concept and themes
Mario described the song "The Hardest Moment" which is set to be on his album as "Personal, because I say things in the record that have multiple meanings. Like the chorus says, "A man that ain't afraid to cry is a man that's not afraid to die." That to me, even though I'm talking about a relationship in the song, I'm talking about that point in a relationship where everything is over. It's like, you guys are cool, you guys are friends, but you're totally going separate ways. That's probably one of the hardest things a young man and young woman can go through in their relationship. And, so that's what I'm saying in that line. But it also means to me that a strong man is not afraid to be vulnerable, to cry and let it out. In a previous interview the song "Starlight" produced by The-Dream, Mario has explained the record: "the song is about going after a woman and describes it as dreamy and swaggerized".
The album was originally scheduled to be released under the title And Then There Was Me. But on January 10, 2009, Mario told Singersroom.com that the album title may change for his effort. When asked to explain what they original title meant he said "And Then There Was Me is more than just me sayin' my music is fresh, but who I am as a person. That title for me is like, you've got the Trey Songz', the Ne-Yos, and you've got the Chris Browns of the world—you've got all these new artists. This is my fourth album, and some of them aren't even on their third [album]—I'm coming back with something fresh and new. And then there's me, there's Mario." The album title has since changed to "D.N.A" to reflect the musical changes that Mario has gone through since his last album.
Release and promotion
Mario was initially unsure of when the album would be released. However, in an interview with Rap-Up.com, he was considering March or April 2009. The release date was pushed back to June 2009. But then on Twitter he said "It's getting close "And Then There Was Me" late summer". Online retailers, Amazon later confirmed a September 22, 2009 release date for the project, which later changed again to October 13, 2009 by J Records and Mario's official website, for a United States release. It is Mario's second album to feature a Parental Advisory warning for strong language, the first being 2007's release of Go.
- "Break Up" was the lead single of the album featuring Sean Garrett and Gucci Mane. It was written by Garret and Mario with production from Bangladesh. The song peaked at number 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and reached a high of 14 on the main Hot 100.
- "Thinkin' About You" is the second single to be released on September 4, 2009. The song debuted on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, at number 96. The single was produced by The Runners and The Monarch and as of Mid-November 2009, had reached a new high of 45.
- Mario recorded a music video in the Baltimore DC area for the song "Ooh Baby" and was released on January 21, 2010. It will be released as the third single from the album. On the week of March 19, 2010 the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 95.
- "Stranded" was sent to US Urban AC radio on November 23, 2009 In January 2010 the song entered on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs peaking at number 84.
|The Boston Globe||(favorable)|
Upon its release, D.N.A. received generally positive reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 73/100 from Metacritic. Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe called the album an "unfussy, beautifully sung set" in which "the 23-year-old Mario taps into the tenderness of early Maxwell"," producing "straight-up love songs without histrionics...and Mario's singing so smooth that Stevie Wonder would approve." Andrew Rennie of Now Magazine argues the album is "grown-up, seductive and a little bit explicit (when it needs to be)...it's a small triumph for guys trying to get in touch with their emotions through the medium of R&B." Mariel Concepcion of Billboard magazine praised Mario's "representation of desolation" on D.N.A.: "Mario has a broken heart and he's pouring it all out on his latest set." Glenn Gamboa of Newsday concluded that Mario has now "mastered smooth R&B". Steve Jones of USA Today notes, "with each new album, Mario...has grown a little more adventurous artistically." ConcreteLoop.com gave D.N.A. a mostly positive review, stating the album "is refreshingly different in a sea of R&B that tends to sound a little monotonous." In summation of his album review, Nile Ivey of BET said D.N.A. "kept a consistent setting giving the consumer the full on experience on what it's like for a man to endure a painful separation. Not to say Mario himself went through one, however, he did a hell of a job convincing us he did."
Though the reviews were mostly positive, there were a few criticisms leveled at D.N.A.. Andy Kellman of Allmusic laments, "while it will please the majority of the fan base, the material does not allow Mario -- a vocalist more versatile than many would like to admit -- to do much more than toggle between a Lothario and a softie." Mikael Wood of Entertainment Weekly called Mario "forgettable" in his mixed review of the album, arguing: "lack of personality doesn't kill the disc's ample pleasures. It just makes you wonder whose D.N.A. we're examining." DJBooth.Net was left believing that D.N.A. represents Mario "expanding as a musician, but not necessarily evolving."
According to Billboard.com the album debuted this week (Oct.13-20) at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, the J Records/RCA Music Group set was released Oct. 13. Additionally the album has not had the warm reception at retail only selling 32,000 copies thus far according to Nielsen Soundscan. In fact in its second week on the chart, the album dropped thirty-one spots to #40, further solidifying Mario's remarks.
Mario commented on the lackluster sales to Billboard; "I can't say why I don't get my just due, but it only makes me hungrier," he says. "I want to continue challenging myself and making incredible music that will connect with fans around the world. I plan to keep creating a distinctive lane for myself. 'D.N.A.,' with the help of 'Break Up,' does just that."
The following tracklist was confirmed on Mario's official website.
|1.||"Break Up" (featuring Gucci Mane & Sean Garrett)||Shondrae Crawford, Sean "The Pen" Garrett, Radric Davis||Bangladesh, Sean Garrett||4:09|
|2.||"Thinkin' About You"||Jermaine Jackson, Andrew Harr, Dre, Sean D, K-Ramz, Rico Love||The Runners, The Monarch, Love (co.)||4:37|
|3.||"Get Out"||James Scheffer, Love||Jim Jonsin, Love||3:22|
|4.||"Soundtrack to My Broken Heart"||Carlos McKinney, Love||Los Da Mystro, Love||3:10|
|5.||"Starlight"||Christopher Stewart & Terius Nash||Tricky Stewart & The-Dream||3:57|
|6.||"Stranded"||Eric Hudson, Garrett||Eric Hudson, Garrett||3:23|
|7.||"Ooh Baby"||Joel Augustin, Alan Biamby, Love||JackPot, Love||3:40|
|8.||"Before She Said Hi" (featuring Big Sean)||Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Bobby Dan Pointer, Alexander Chinger, Love, Ronald Simmons, Dixon Wylie, Harry Zelnick||Dre & Vidal, Love||4:25|
|9.||"I Choose You"||Tor Erik Hermansen & Mikkel S. Eriksen, Kenneth Edmonds, Allen Potridge||Stargate||4:22|
|10.||"Don't Walk Away"||Stewart, Sean Hall, Mario, Chu Boi, Thabiso Nkhereanye||Tricky Stewart, Hall, The-Dream (co.)||3:57|
|11.||"I Miss My Friend"||J.R. Ho, Kawan Prather, Allen Potridge, James Neng-Hsein Ho, Jessyca Wilson, Babyface||Malay, KP||3:48|
|12.||"The Hardest Moment"||Elvis Williams, Harold Lilly, Mack Woodward||Blac Elvis, Harold Lilly||3:36|
|iTunes pre-order bonus tracks|
|13.||"Depression (Thinkin' of You)"||CJ Hilton||3:32|
|Japan bonus tracks|
|14.||"Do for Love"||Dre & Vidal||3:30|
|Chart (2009)|| Peak|
|ARIA Top 40 Urban Albums||26|
|UK R&B Albums||19|
|U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums||2|
|United Kingdom||October 12, 2009||RCA Music||88697496572||CD, Digital Download|
|United States||October 13, 2009||J Records||886974965725|
|Japan||October 21, 2009||Sony Music Japan||BVCP-40090|
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