Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cat And Yusuf


When I first had in hand the new cd of Cat Stevens, sorry, Yusuf Islam, I didn’t know exactly what I will find. One thing I was wondering is what could Cat Stevens will bring me now with An Other Cup (November 2006), his first album of new songs since 1978's Back To Earth?
Coincidentally, just before Christmas, I saw for the first time since years the movie Harold and Maud directed by Hal Ashby in 1971 (
imdb) where the Cat Stevens soundtrack is probably, with the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack for The Graduate, one of the most effective use of pop music in film ever. The nostalgia of the first Cat Stevens songs came back to me and I was ready to discover his new work.
First, Cat “Yusuf” Stevens wasn’t under pressure from a major label to do this; it was all over his own motivation and that’s what makes this record work: Yusuf is feeling it. Second, his voice, still taking a prominent role, the sound of his guitar together with the piano, all sound still very true and emotional. The tunes are enjoyable and make the record easy to listen. The only song that I don’t like to hear is the cover one Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, the title is perhaps a message... Where there is a difference between the songs from Cat Stevens and those from Yusuf Islam it’s the words: "Most of the new songs are about finding or making a better world and I was always idealistic and sang about wanting to find some higher truth", he says.

Web:
yusufislam.com or catstevens.com

Yusuf Islam - In The End .mp3 via obscuresound.com
Yusuf Islam - Maybe There's A World (Stream)
Yusuf Islam - Heaven/Where True Love Goes (video) here
Yusuf live on KCRW (December 21, 2006)

Elliott Smith - Trouble (Cat Stevens Cover) .mp3
Cat Stevens - How Can I Tell You.mp3
Cat Power - How Can I Tell You (Cat Stevens Cover). mp3 via Blown Speakers

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