Emotions is the second studio album by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey. It was released on September 17, 1991 by Columbia Records. The album deviated from the formula of Carey's 1990 self-titled debut album, as she had more creative control over the material she produced and recorded. Additionally, Emotions features influences from a range of genres such as gospel, R&B, soul and 1950s, 1960s and 1970s balladry infusion. On the record, Carey worked with a variety of producers and writers, including Walter Afanasieff, the only hold over from her previous effort. Additionally, Carey wrote and produced the album's material with Robert Clivillés and David Cole from C+C Music Factory and Carole King, with whom she wrote one song.
Upon release, Emotions received generally mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, surprising many critics following the success of Carey's debut, which spent eleven weeks atop the chart. While selling far less than Mariah Carey, Emotions was eventually certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of four million copies throughout the country, with estimated sales standing at 3,595,000 copies. Emotions achieved moderate success outside the United States, peaking within the top ten in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. Its success in Japan was strong, shipping one million copies there. The album has sold 8 million copies worldwide.
Three commercial singles were released from the album. The title track, the album's lead song, became Carey's fifth chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the only artist in history to have their first five singles reach the chart's summit. Additionally, it became Carey's third chart topper in Canada, and reached the top ten in France, the Netherlands and New Zealand. "Can't Let Go" was released as the second single from Emotions on October 23, 1991. Due to Columbia's removal of the single from stores in an attempt to boost the album's sales, "Can't Let Go" failed to become her sixth chart topper in the US, peaking at number two. European and worldwide success was very limited, reaching the top 20 in only Canada and the UK. Similarly, "Make It Happen" peaked at number five in the US, and achieved relatively weak international charting, prompting Columbia to halt promotion of the album.