Emotions

Album: Emotions (1991)
Charted: 17 1

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Mariah Carey is over the moon for a guy who makes her feel alive and in love. The emotions he makes her feel are deeper than she's ever dreamed of.

    Carey wrote the lyric, but the track came courtesy of David Cole and Robert Clivillés, who were the C+C of C+C Music Factory. They were red-hot producers at the time with a hit of their own in 1991 with "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)."
  • "Emotions" is the title track and lead single to Mariah Carey's second album. Her first album was huge, with all four singles going to #1 in America. "Emotions" also reached the top, keeping her momentum going.

    With her first five singles reaching #1, Carey set a new record, overtaking The Jackson 5, whose first four singles reached the summit. Carey's sixth single release "Can't Let Go" broke the run, as it only reached #2.
  • This song provides an opportunity for Carey to show off her otherworldly vocal range, especially at the end of the song. When Carey sang this song at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, she reportedly sounded a G-sharp three and a half octaves above middle C. This was one of the highest notes produced by a human voice in the history of recorded music.
  • This song bears resemblance to the 1977 #1 disco hit "Best Of My Love," by... The Emotions. Producers would often conjure up tracks in the style of hits from the past, and would label them accordingly. So, it's entirely possible that when Carey got the track (which would have come in a box), it said "Emotions" on it, perhaps triggering her lyric.

    Carl Sturken, who as a member of Rythm Syndicate toured with C+C Music Factory around this time, is convinced this is the case. "I am absolutely one thousand percent certain that when they wrote that groove, they labeled it 'Emotions' because it's The Emotions' groove," he told Songfacts. "Then when Mariah Carey comes in to write over it, she sees 'Emotions' written as the name of the groove, so she writes a song called 'You've Got Me Feeling Emotions.'"

    The "Best Of My Love" songwriters are not credited on "Emotions," but one of them - Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire - took legal action and received a settlement.

    Speaking to Fred Bronson, author of The Billboard Book Of #1 Hits, David Cole weighed in on the connection to "Best Of My Love": "What was funny was both Robert and Mariah came up with the 'Emotions' groove separately. She had an idea for it and so did Robert. They both mentioned doing something similar to the (group) Emotions. I mean, the Emotions were an inspiration for the song 'Emotions,' there's no way to deny that or get around it. It definitely has the feeling from the Emotions, but we're not dumb enough to go and steal the damn record."
  • According to Cole, Tommy Mottola, the head of Sony Music and Mariah's soon-to-be husband, suggested the collaboration. Mariah was a big fan of the producer and the pair hit it off right away. "Working with Mariah was, first of all, fun," Cole recalled. "Robert and I bounced off ideas. We came up with a whole bunch of grooves. If this worked, cool, this doesn't work, next. And that's how we did the whole project. We would all come together and decide on what worked and what didn't."
  • The first song the C+C Music Factory duo worked on with Carey was the album cut "You're So Cold," which they initially thought would be the lead single until they came up with "Emotions."
  • Even though she was already a perfectionist in the studio, Mariah credits Cole with pushing her to even further heights. "He was one of the only people I used to have in the studio when I would sing because I respected him as a singer," she recalled in a 2018 Pitchfork interview. "He would push me in different areas where he could actually sing it to me and I would be like, 'Oh, this is cool. I like that.' If you listen to the song 'Emotions,' that was him going, 'You can do that. Try this.' Half the time, I would lose my voice afterwards because he would just push me."
  • In a 2015 retrospective interview for her greatest hits album #1 To Infinity, Mariah said she enjoyed making the music video because the director, Jeff Preiss, was more artistic than her previous directors. The playful clip shows her cruising in the back of a convertible and hanging out with a group of friends in New York City.
  • This earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1992 but lost to Bonnie Raitt's "Something To Talk About."

Comments: 3

  • Sony from Bangalore, IndiaWOW! The notes she hits...this is considered as one of the most difficult female songs to cover..and her whistle register is top notch.
  • Jorges from Oaxaca, MexicoWhen I listened 1st time this song, I decided purchase the album suddenly. I thought: "each song Mariah Carey releases its a nnumber 1 !! it must be a record! and yes, it was. Can't Let Go reached the ·2- but the merit is there .
  • Carrie from Roanoke, VaThis song sounds a lot like "Best of My Love" by, natch, The Emotions.
see more comments

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