If you were a fan of Cat Stevens’ original work, you’ll be both surprised and pleased with the first song he’s released in over 25 years.
Vintage Cat Stevens folk music was the stuff lazy afternoons and rainy days were made of. It was music that you stoked up if you needed to chill the f*** out. Remember this….?
Don’t you feel more relaxed already? Not quite there? How about this….?
So Stevens had us in a groove, then he took a break — a long one. He converted to Islam, became Yusuf and established himself as a controversial figure in the media. His religious convictions led Yusuf to swear off pop music for almost 30 years and instead release records of religious songs for children.
Now Yusuf is back, and he’s singing the blues. Take what you will from that, but the lead single from his new album is a Lead Belly cover, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone.” The song is about sticking it to the man and being less consumed with what people think of you. This seems appropriate since Yusuf told Yahoo Music that he’s become more relaxed in his views and has departed a bit from his earlier days of ultra-conservatism.
Yusuf explains his newfound attitude: “I think music is a great creator of equilibrium. It can be. There are people who are passionate about religion, and that’s fine. But, you know, everyone’s got to live in this world too, so you’ve got to balance your spiritual goals with the reality of the material side of life. And I think that’s just one of the things which people tend to think that in order to be truly religious, you’ve got to give up absolutely everything.
“But I think that I’ve learned that everything can be done in a kind of moderation, and as long as you keep it kind of ethically pure, there’s nothing you can’t really get involved in. You can explore so much of the material world with a spiritual goal as well. If you listen to the [outside] voices, you’ll never make up your own mind.”
Yusuf’s almost three-decade journey has resulted in an album that is a collection of a few of his favorite blues songs mixed with a few tunes he describes as autobiographical. Take a listen to the title track of the album, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone.”