Lionel Richie sideman Ben Mauro’s solo work is a brand of soft-rock that presents a humanist’s warm, upbeat, optimistic “be- there-for-you” view of the world, delivered in a solid if indistinctive voice that stays in its comfort zone. The carefree “Making Out In Traffic” is an example of Mauro’s strength and weakness: while he’s a crafty writer who can carve out a chorus and bridge, his uber-repetition drives “Traffic”’s chorus into the ground. Similarly, “She’s Beautiful” and “Complicated” have nice arrangements (love the sax and guitar solos) and exude a beautiful, spirited message about what makes life special. But we feel the artist could be a bit less obvious in delivering that message. Perhaps take a less-is-more approach?
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