Yusuf – An Other Cup
CD Review by Brian McAlley

February 2007
 
           
 

 

 

For those not aware of this fact, Yusuf Islam is the artist who was once known as the world-renowned singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. The last recording he made under that name was "Black Earth" which was released in 1978. Since then he has changed his name, embraced religion, and dropped out of the mainstream world of pop/rock – that is until now. Over a quarter of a century later comes a new recording from Yusuf entitled "An Other Cup," a disc filled with memorable tunes that can be viewed as a celebratory return to the spiritual folk/pop/rock of his early work. Although he has released several Islamic recordings over the past twenty-eight years, "An Other Cup," is truly a return to the traditional sound that made him a dominant figure on the charts back in the 1970s.

Does Yusuf sound like the Cat Stevens of old? The answer is a resounding yes. His voice hasn't lost any of its depth or charm and the melodies are still as inviting as those from his classic recordings. His new music however, resides within a more spiritual environment, expounding on the benefits that he has reaped from his conversion to Islam. Yet, despite the deeply spiritual themes that are interwoven throughout the disc, he manages to get his message across without becoming too preachy. Songs like "Maybe There's a World," the mild rocker "Midday (Avoid the City After Dark)," "In the End," and "Greenfields, Golden Sands" are wonderful for their simplicity, spirituality, and honesty. There's also a moving, string-enhanced cover of The Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Understood," as Yusuf delivers a brooding and introspective rendition far removed from the original version.

With the assistance of co-producer Rick Nowels, Yusuf has created a solid collection of songs that are profound, beautifully written, and impeccably produced. Long-time followers of Cat Stevens as well as those new to his music will find this new recording pleasing, inspirational, and spiritually enlightening. On his return to the mainstream, Yusuf was quoted as saying "I feel right about making music and singing about life in this fragile world again. It is important for me to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross."

   
           
     

CD track listing
1.

Midday

2.

Heaven/Where True Love Goes

3.

Maybe There's A World

4.

One Day At A Time

5.

When Butterflies Leave

6.

In The End

7.

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

8.

I Think I See The Light

9.
Whispers From A Spiritual Garden
10.
The Beloved
11.
Green Fields, Golden Sands
Label: Atlantic / Wea / Release date: 11/14/2006