“Emotions” by Mariah Carey (1991)

“Emotions” was the first single from Mariah Carey’s second album, also entitled Emotions. It was her record-setting fifth number one pop record. No artist before or since has seen their first five singles hit the top spot. Actually, given the current music industry’s lean towards featured appearances, it’s very likely that this will never happen again. It’s a fun, upbeat jam-perfect for the end of the summer (and it set the tone for lead singles for Mariah releases through the early 2000s). I loved it on first listen and love it now (duh…see this list), but even my then relatively untrained ear picked up on the fact that “Emotions” sounded a lot like “Best Of My Love” by…The Emotions. I can’t say I knew a lot about music and copyright law as a teenager, but it definitely seemed as though there was some “Blurred Lines”-level skullduggery happening. And maybe a ridiculous amount of balls involved in actually calling the song “Emotions”. Had this been 2018, my first thought would’ve been “man, I hope Maurice White(‘s estate) and Al McKay are getting paid off lovely”. In 1991, that wasn’t exactly the case. As it turns out, Maurice thought “Emotions” sounded more than a little bit like “Best Of My Love”, too. So he sued. Cole & Clivilles stayed in court for a couple of years in the early ‘90s. And that particular suit was settled out of court. So…yeah.

Does that take away from how good “Emotions” is? Not for me. I think of it as a loving tribute.

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