Go was the most satisfying of Mario's first three albums, but it lacked a major crossover single on the level of "Let Me Love You." Although the sensitive ballad "Crying Out for Me" was big on R&B stations, it did not break the Top 30 of the Hot 100. The minimal Sean Garrett and Shondrae production "Break Up," however -- D.N.A.'s lead single, issued weeks before the album -- did not take long to become the singer's biggest pop hit since his breakthrough. And it does turn out to be his fourth album's greatest deviation from the back catalog, carrying a laggard and sparse pulse to back Mario's whiny swagger.
Compared to more compelling characters such as Ne-Yo and The-Dream, Mario can come off as one of R&B’s more forgettable stars. 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.” ? That lack of personality doesn’t kill the disc’s ample pleasures. It just makes you wonder whose D.N.A.
Mario's appearances on Dancing With The Stars and in silver-screen cornballs like Step Up may lead you believe he's just another generic singer-turned-actor. But D.N.A., his fourth studio album, proves otherwise. 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.