Cat Stevens is magnificent. Brilliant. A genius. Now that we’ve agreed on that, I want to bring up his 2006 return to pop music after a 30 year hiatus – an album entitled An Other Cup. While good, it was very preachy and not very Catty.
Roadsinger (To Warm You Through The Night) is Yusuf’s second record since his return to pop music. Now this is a real comeback. It is amazing. All the songs are lyrically and musically brilliant, and the whole record just oozes with Cat’s charm.
When I first slipped this into my PlayStation (my dedicated CD player is broken) and the first track started, I uttered a sigh of relief. Yusuf’s powerful, gritty and instantly recognisable voice pushes to the front, accompanied by his distinguishable acoustic guitar, a sparse drumkit and a few other instruments that I can’t be bothered to list. This song is traditional Cat, with a few new elements, and, to be honest, the new elements add, they don’t detract. The lyrics and melody are simply brilliant.
As the album progresses, it doesn’t let down for a second. At a mere 30 minutes in length, it seems that Yusuf is still in the vinyl era – I don’t mind though, as the album just works. Song after song, I was gobsmacked. This is really Yusuf at his best. Longtime Cat fans will recognize the intro to “Be What You Must”, and, honestly, I liked it – he’s allowed to steal from himself, right? And it’s just an intro anyway. It really helped cement the idea that this record is a jolt from the past from the same man as Cat Stevens, and not a complete different artist.
He blends his old, folk style with a new element, adds some lemon zest and produces a masterpiece.