Review: Jack Foley
THE name Mario Winans looks set to become very big in R'n'B circles,
thanks to the phenomenal success of single, I Don't Wanna Know,
in the US.
In truth, Winans has been on the scene for some time now, and
is better known as super-producer to the likes of P Diddy, Notorious
B.I.G and Mary J Blige, to name but a few.
He also sang the second verse on Usher's massive hit, I Need
A Girl, Pt 2, but has seemed content to remain on the sidelines
Hurt No More represents a huge step into the limelight,
however, and, needless to say, arrives on P Diddy's Bad Boy Records.
It's a slick affair, too, certain to appeal to the R'n'B crowd,
with its deft mix of samples, instruments and hip-hop laced beats
that place him firmly in the smooth groove neighbourhood inhabited
my so many of his illustrious former collaborators.
Yet, it's not quite the album I had been hoping for, especially
in light of that massive single, which stands head and shoulders
above most of the rest of the 18 tracks on show.
I Don't Wanna Know is a monster of an R'n'B record, courtesy
of that Enya sample, and The Fugees too, which fully deserves
its runaway success.
But too much of the album seems content to play to formula, while
also occupying the same themes that make I Don't Wanna Know
so different from the usual bad boy crowd of love-struck romeos.
That single was about a decision to face a womans infidelity
and ignore it - but far too many of the album's other tracks reiterate
this same sort of sentiment.
I Got You Babe, for instance, finds the singer pleading
'all I wanna do is stay in love with you, so can we make this
true', while What's Wrong With Me has the artist suffering
from insomnia, pondering a blind heart, and declaring 'I don't
want to go another day without your heart'.
Set against some of the beats, such sentiments don't become too
laboured, but there are times when tracks drift into one another,
and poor old Mario seems to be whining about the same thing.
When the album finds a harder edge, it tends to do much better.
The dark horns and aggressive beats of This Is The Thanks
I Get, featuring Black Rob, lend the album a much more take-notice
urban vibe, while the dancefloor grooves of So Fine feel
like a weight has been lifted from someone's heart.
Had there been more of the latter and less of the dreary, heavy-hearted
stuff, we might have been talking about an R'n'B classic.
As it stands, Hurt No More is an accomplished album, made
bigger by the presence of P Diddy, as executive producer, than
it really should be.
Ponderous, rather than uplifting, you can practically pick the
singles off it.
1. Ready For Love (Interlude)
2. Never Really Was
3. I Don't Wanna Know (Main)
4. You Knew
5. How I Made It
6. Already Know (Interlude)
7. 3 Days Ago
8. What's Wrong With Me
9. Can't Judge Me
11. Enough (Interlude)
12. Pretty Girl Bullsh*t (Main)
13. This Is The Thanks I Get
14. I Got You Babe
15. So Fine
16. Should've Known
17. Turn Around
18. The Game