First Hit #1: October 12, 1991
Mariah Carey’s second album Emotions was released on September 17, 1991. It probably should have been released later.
It’s not because it’s ahead of its time, or because Emotions was too cutting edge for audiences of 1991. No, it’s because the album needed a little bit more time in the oven. Yes, I said that they ran out of singles from Carey’s first album, and Carey and her management team agreed, since this was released soon after. But the problem is that in rushing out a follow up they made music – and in particular, this single – that really needed a bit of sober thought and revising before it was released.
It’s not a bad song per se, it’s the start of a bit of fun dance music, a theoretically exciting way to launch a record. While I’m not as impressed by her journeys into the whistle register, it’s at least a fun song, and she’s still a dynamic singer. However, this is a song where the hook is “You’ve got me feeling emotions.” In a genre of music which isn’t necessarily a bastion of depth and complexity, this stands out as possibly one of the most meaningless lines ever sung. Yes, it’s followed up by other lines, which suggest a depth or height of these ambiguous emotions, but it’s still the kind of line that you put in a song in anticipation of putting in a better line later. That’s the problem overall, it’s something that’s good enough rather than good, a song that feels as though it is only on the album because they need a lead single quick and it’s basically done.
Carey’s game, she’s exuberant and suggesting meaning to the lyrics with her joyful performance that the lines don’t have on their own. Really, she’s let down by the fact that everyone involved could have probably used a few months to fine tune and make the songs actually mean something, instead of just plowing forward in the Mariah Carey money train. As a result, while not bad, is somewhat willfully generic. It isn’t quite a song that would inspire you to buy the entire album, which is probably why Emotions wasn’t as big as her debut.