Mariah Carey was granted diva status early in her recording career, and on the merits of pure vocal mastery, the honors were justified. But the material didn’t always match the quality of her voice, and 1991’s Emotions, her sophomore effort, highlights both the strengths and limitations of her initial releases. Its tracks mix gospel-rooted ballads with simmering dance-pop tunes, all produced with smooth efficiency and well-balanced taste. Carey handles her part with aplomb, swooping and gliding through upbeat numbers like “To Be Around You,” “Make it Happen,” and the title track. (“You’re So Cold” is the best of this bunch, filled with Mariah’s gorgeously throbbing embellishments.) The album’s ballads — “If It’s Over,””Can’t Let Go” and “The Wind” — capture her reveling in romantic torment at both ends of her extraordinary range. “Till the End of Time” gives a taste of the dreamy, bruise-tender vocalizing Carey would emphasize a few albums later. Emotions may be deficient in truly exceptional songwriting and rely upon fairly stock R&B and pop arrangement ideas, but in terms of the singing captured, its standard is consistently high. Mariah’s diva-hood is never in doubt.