Picks and Pans Review: Emotions

updated 10/28/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/28/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Mariah Carey

Wow. The range and energy of that voice! From her passionate lower register through the cute, nearly dog-whistle squeaks she emits while teetering octaves above high C, Carey on her second album gives a stunning aerial display. (The only other pop singer capable of similar feats was the late Minnie Riperton.) Songs like "Till the End of Time" confirm that Carey is truly a transcendent talent.

But this tour de force feels curiously like assault and battery because the pop enchantress sings everything at maximum intensity, even ballads. She takes the torchy "You're So Cold" and wields it like a flamethrower. Ultimately the record is wearying, like bicycling into a stiff wind.

As on her debut, the song selection is somewhat uneven, but the material here is stronger and the arrangements richer. She does bank her pyrotechnics for the sultry "If It's Over," which she cowrote with Carole King. So we know it's possible for her to throttle back when she has to. Have mercy, girl. Even Patti LaBelle coasts once in a while. (Columbia)

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