Mariah Carey’s Emotions

Released September 17, 1991

Label: Columbia

Genre: R&B

Producer: Mariah Carey • Walter Afanasieff • David Cole • Robert Clivillés


It was hard to avoid Mariah Carey in the 1990s. She had a hit single (or multiple,) almost every single year in that decade. Mariah released quality albums like clockwork and was the best selling artist from the 90s easily. I know when I was a kid, I loved songs like Fantasy, Heartbreaker, Honey, Vision of Love, etc..but when I became older, I sat and listen to Mariah’s discography and was appreciative of what she’s brought to the table in her 30+ year career.

The album that had me hooked the most, was Emotions. September 17th, 1991 was the day Mariah Carey released her second studio album, Emotions after the huge success that her self-titled debut album was. The anticipation for her next studio effort was high in the clouds. Although Emotions was not as huge as it’s predecessor, it’s cemented her status as the DIVA with the incredible vocals she is the tender age of 21. I will say VOCALLY, Emotions is one of Mariah’s strongest albums, and I will die on that hill.

Emotions is a memorable album, and very underrated when it comes to her bigger works like Daydream, Butterfly & The Emancipation of Mimi. Emotions was far from a sophomore slump, but critics at that time felt it was dull, and that her voice only made the album great (which meant the songs didn’t have any substance. I personally think they did, but those critics can sail on).

I think Emotions is a winner, because each song pays tribute to the Motown sound…and/or gives you a 50s, 60s feel when you are listening to it. If It’s Over alone, is a doo-wop song that sounds like something her idol Aretha could have recorded.

Every single song tells a story, whether if it’s someone making you feel like you’re on top of the world, or fail to remember how you loved them, or can’t let go of their sorry butt..Emotions is IT!!!! Her best vocal work at that moment, Emotions gives you chills! If you don’t get chills from the first minute of “You’re So Cold,” you just don’t get why I am IN LOVE with Mariah Carey.

One thing I love about Emotions, is MARIAH’S PEN. She is beyond slept on, in regards to songwriting..and I just don’t understand it. Her best work sits on this album, and you cannot tell me anything different. Can’t Let Go, The Carole King & MC masterpiece If It’s Over..I mean every song is not an album filler to me. Skips cancelled.

Emotions debuted and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 charts, with first-week sales of 129,000 copies. The album also peaked on the R&B albums chart at number six. The album gave the singer her second consecutive top-ten album, and was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Mariah Carey’s “Emotions.”


Written by Mariah Carey ∙ David Cole ∙ Robert Clivillés

The album opens up with the title track Emotions, which has elements of R&B, disco & gospel. Released as the lead single, Emotions has the singer expressing how in love she is with her romantic partner, and how it has her going through a range of emotions.

The song was produced by David Cole & Robert Clivillés, who also wrote the song with Mariah. Emotions gave Mariah her fifth consecutive number one single in a row on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the first artist to date to accomplish a feat. The song also gave Mariah her third number one single on the Billboard R&B charts. Emotions has since been certified platinum by the RIAA, and contains a sample of The Emotions’ Best of My Love.

And You Don’t Remember

And You Don’t Remember is one of the songs on the album that captures the essence of Mariah’s vocals and the vibe of the album with the influences of gospel and 60s feels in regards to music. Like in the bridge of the song, she proves how believable it is for her to not be human for singing the lyrics with her whistle note.

LIKE WOW!!! From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks about how the singer is reminding a past lover of the promises he made and didn’t keep with her. The song is one of the gems on the album and deserves more recognition. While it wasn’t released as a single, the song was featured in a Sony MiniDisc commercial in 1991.

Can’t Let Go

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ Walter Afanasieff

Can’t Let Go was released as the second single for the album, and rightfully so because whew! It’s easily one of my top 5 songs of all time period. Lyrically, the song speaks about how she cannot come to terms with her relationship ending with a former love..especially seeing him with his new lover.

Released as the second single from Emotions, the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 & R&B charts respectively. The thing that makes me sad is that Can’t Let Go could’ve went to number one on the charts if Columbia didn’t pull the single out of stores to boost sales for the album. A TRUE TRAVESTY. Nevertheless, the song was certified Gold by the RIAA. Can’t Let Go contains a sample of Make It Last Forever by Keith Sweat ft Jacci McGhee.

Make It Happen

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ David Cole ∙ Robert Clivillés

Make It Happen is a standout track on Emotions for me, because it got me through the toughest times in my life. I struggled with insecurities, depression, suicide the fear of being a failure at life, and my sexuality. Lyrically, the song is about Mariah’s personal struggles and her most inspirational. With elements of dance, gospel, house & R&B, Make It Happen is so motivational and the lyrics are just so phenomenal. Like wow.

I know life can be so tough, and you feel like giving up.

But you must be strong, baby, just hold on!

Mariah Carey, Make It Happen, 1991

Make It Happen feels like a personal testimony from Mariah, telling me: “Markiz, I have went through similar situations like yourself. I worked various jobs to make ends meet too! I barely had more than one pairs of shoes, and everything else. You have to keep going, and hold on the faith that you will prevail and SUCCEED.”

Released as the third and final single from the album, Make It Happen peaked in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 and top 10 on the Billboard R&B charts respectively. The song contains a sample of Alicia Myers’ I Want to Thank You.

If It’s Over

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ Carole King

If It’s Over is top tier baby! A song penned by Mariah and one of the artists she grew up listening to (the iconic Carole King,) If It’s Over gives vibes of soul and jazz, with choir like background vocals, like it’s so dope to me. From a lyrical perspective, the song is a tale about a romance that has gone left and the singer is telling her ex to let her go if it is totally over.

The downtempo ballad’s live performance of the single on MTV Unplugged was released as a single in 1992, and the singer performed the song at the 1992 Grammys.

You’re So Cold

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ David Cole

You’re So Cold IS AN AMAZING DAMN SONG OKAY. The intro alone is better than people’s whole career! & the house music vibes is so evident and entrancing. Just remarkable! From a lyrical perspective, You’re So Cold is a song about the singer talking about how heartless and cruel her lover has been to her.

She finds her self helplessly devoted to this person who is so undeserving of her Chile. The tone of the song is very sad to hear because it’s like they won’t ever change their messed up ways.

Side note: I am STILL upset with Columbia for not choosing You’re So Cold for the album’s first single. I am positive it would’ve been a HIT!

So Blessed

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ Walter Afanasieff

So Blessed is a song that speaks about how the singer feels complete and whole feels she gets with her lover. I cannot wait to dedicate this song to my future husband.

To Be Around You

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ David Cole

To Be Around You is definitely an album CUT! The beauty of this song really gets me so excited to find a favorite person to sing this to. The keyboards on the song gives me big house vibes and is just a feel good record all around. Lyrically, the song speaks about the singer wanting to physically see her lover all of the time.

Till the End of Time

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ Walter Afanasieff

The album track ‘Till the End of Time is my all time favorite, and has to be played in heavy rotation at my wedding. “the end of time” is the most beautifully written song I have ever heard. It sets the mood for what’s to come (ballad wise) from Mariah on Music Box, and even Daydream. It also serves as an interlude to the tear jerking jazz ballad “The Wind.”

The Wind

Written by Mariah Carey ∙ Russell Freeman

With The Wind closing the album, it is the tale of a loved one gone too soon. It reminds me instantly of my family members and friends that meant the world to me..being taken away at a young age.

Stream my appreciation playlist Mariah Carey’s EMOTIONS HERE:

The underlying message for this entire review is to show love & appreciation for this album, as it is lost and often neglected for her bigger albums. If you ever want to start listening to Mariah’s discography, I recommend starting with debut and then Emotions. If you ask me, it is her best album in regards of vocals…from her early days. I am not even being a diehard when I state how I feel about this album.

It does not matter if you are young, or old…this album sends the message of love, heartbreak & hope through gospel/motown-inspired songs. Mariah proved and worked hard early in her career, to do what she does today. She has been broken and put together so many times, that it’s impossible for her to be human…The way she always comes out a winner is astounding..just like her discography.

As we wait for her next studio’s so obvious that we cannot let go of the songbird supreme. With a voice like hers…do you blame us? – MW.

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