Yusuf /Cat Stevens, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time, will release his highly anticipated new album, ‘The Laughing Apple’, on September 15 under his Cat-O-Log Records logo exclusively through Decca Records, the same label that launched his career 50 years ago. The Laughing Apple features original songs and covers, though the covers on this album are Yusufs own. He celebrates some of his earliest material, with new presentations of the songs. Conceptually, The Laughing Apple returns to the journey of the Tillerman, as he recalls his travels and life lessons to a younger generation. The album's cover features Yusufs own illustration, the first time he has designed one of his covers since 1972. Yusuf has drawn additional works of art for each of the 11 songs on The Laughing Apple.
Sufjan Stevens’ new full-length mixtape The Greatest Gift—Outtakes, Remixes, & Demos from Carrie & Lowell is out on November 24. The new tape features the “Dungeons and Dragons”-referencing song “Wallowa Lake Monster,” and follows Stevens’ two other releases this year: Carrie & Lowell Live and Planetarium, his collaborative project with the National’s Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and drummer James McAlister. The new mixtape is a companion piece to his 2015 studio album Carrie & Lowell.
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded four albums in the same manner, using the same producer and many of the same musicians, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner.
Cat Stevens virtually disappeared from the British pop scene in 1968, at the age of 20, after a meteoric start to his career. He had contracted tuberculosis and spent a year recovering, from both his illness and the strain of being a teenage pop star, before returning to action in the spring of 1970 — as a very different 22-year-old — with Mona Bone Jakon.
In retrospect, it is not hard to find hints of a coming change in the final album Cat Stevens made before a near-death experience and a religious conversion.
Things aren’t going well for Cat Stevens on the planet, ah, polyethylene. Critics keep asking: would you buy a used I Ching from this man? Since Tea for the Tillerman, affirmation has been doubtful. Never a deep thinker and rarely a master of words, Stevens has now turned to the “majik” of numerology, only to have the melodies disappear down the decimal point. In fact, “Call Me Zero” would have been a perfect title for Numbers, an album so breathtakingly stupid that even the most loyal fan could count its merits without using any of the fingers on either hand.
Yusuf Islam, commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist. His 1967 debut album reached the top 10 in the UK, and the album's title song "Matthew and Son" charted at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. His albums Tea for the Tillerman (1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971) were both certified triple platinum in the US. His musical style consists of folk, pop, rock, and Islamic music. His 1972 album Catch Bull at Four spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, and fifteen weeks at number one in the Australian ARIA Charts…