Emotions (Mariah Carey Album) - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The Boston Globe (Positive)
Chicago Tribune
Entertainment Weekly (C)
Orlando Sentinel (Mixed)
Los Angeles Times
Robert Christgau
Rolling Stone
Sun-Sentinel (Mixed)

Upon its release, Emotions garnered generally mixed reviews from contemporary music critics, many of whom both praised and criticized the album's content alongside Carey's vocal acrobatics. Bill Lamb from About.com gave Emotions three and a half out of five stars, complimenting the album as a whole, claiming it to be "tightened" when in comparison to the original. He described the album's lead single as "bone chilling," however criticizing some of the Carey's high notes as "vocal range overkill." Allmusic editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, gave the album four out of five stars, calling it a "musical journey." Additionally, Erlewine picked "Emotions" and "Make It Happen" as the album's standout tracks and wrote "The one emotion that prevails upon completion of the album is definitely a positive one: satisfaction." Parry Gettelman, editor from the Orlando Sentinel, was critical on Carey's vocal acrobatics, writing "Carey has become so enamored of the ultra-high-frequency part of her range that I'm starting to suspect she may be an intergalactic spy trying to re- establish communications with the far-off Planet of Dogs." Jonathan Kurant from the Sun-Sentinel gave Emotions a mixed review, writing "Oddly, the album gets more original at the end, where not all people will bother getting to." Further in the review, he outed "The Wind" and "Till the End of Time" as the album's stand out tracks, but felt most of the album was unoriginal and not an improvement over her debut.

Steve Morse from The Boston Globe gave the album a positive review, calling it "a quantum leap in maturity and confidence." Morse felt Emotions was superior to Carey's debut, calling its lyrics "remarkable," its ballads "unspeakably beautiful," and Carey's vocal and songwriting ability "unlimited." Rob Tannenbaum from Rolling Stone was critical on the album, expressing how Carey's extensive use of her range made it difficult to truly feel and connect to the lyrics within the songs. Tannenbaum concluded his review on Emotions with "Carey has a remarkable vocal gift, but to date, unfortunately, her singing has been far more impressive than expressive." Arion Berger from Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C, calling it "colder and more calculated" than Carey's debut. Additionally, Berger mirrored similar sentiments written by Tannenbaum, writing " is the hybrid progeny of a venerable tradition — the tradition of the R&B diva — and crass commercial instincts. it's gospel without soul, love songs without passion, pop without buoyancy." Robert Christgau said nothing on the album, but gave it a "dud" score. Deborah Wilker, editor of the Sun-Sentinel, complimented Carey's vocal and singing abilities, however criticizing some of the album's content as a whole. Wilker wrote "With her elite industry connections and top-notch voice, Carey can do better. Sure this set is enjoyable and provides pop fans with a new diva to idolize, but Carey and company don`t come close to exploiting the full range of her musical potential." Dennis Hunt from the Los Angeles Times gave the album two out of a possible four stars, calling Carey's voice "spectacular and impressive," however criticizing the album's songs and production. Editor of the Chicago Tribune, Jan DeKnock, gave the album three stars, indicating a "Good" review. She called some of the album's ballads "boring," but described Carey's voice as "breathtaking."

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