An Other Cup

Studio Album by released in 2006
An Other Cup's tracklist:
Midday (Avoid City After Dark)
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Heaven / Where True Love Goes
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Maybe There's a World
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One Day at a Time
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When Butterflies Leave
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In the End
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I Think I See the Light
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Whispers from a Spiritual Garden
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The Beloved
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Green Fields, Golden Sands
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An Other Cup review

The first album in 28 years

28 years ago the musician known as Cat Stevens has disappeared from the music life to devote himself to the spiritual quest; he embraced Islam and adopted a new name Yusuf Islam. As Cat Stevens he achieved international success in both the sixties and seventies and was one of the UK’s most celebrated artists but it is obvious that this was not what he really wanted. Now, many long years after, the former Cat Stevens feels ready to make a triumphant return with his new album An Other Cup, giving his listeners a recording that reveals the benefits and the gifts that his conversation to the religion gave him. Commenting on the reasons for his timely return, Yusuf explains: “There were a hundred reasons for leaving the music industry back in 1979, not least because I had found what I was looking for spiritually. Today, there are perhaps 101 good reasons why I feel right making music and singing about life in this fragile world again.” Together with co-producer Rick Nowels, old mates like guitarist Alun Davies, Jean Roussel, and bassist Danny Thompson, and new ones like Youssou N'Dour, Islam delivers a spiritual folk pop of heartfelt and beautifully written songs full of melodies that made him famous in his previous life.

Yusuf is still very much Cat Stevens

An Other Cup, despite that Yusuf has come across the religious and cultural re-comprehension, has nothing that might be called a grate change. Yusuf is still very much Stevens. His voice is warm, rich, and inviting, his melodies are as irresistible as ever, and his way of relating his experience is direct. An Other Cup is steeped in classic songwriting values and comes rich with messages for the world about unity, spirituality and religion. The very first track Midday is a good example to prove the aforesaid. It is one of that characteristic Yusuf’s songs and it even wouldn't have sounded out of place on his very first album of 1966. There are a number of acoustic ballads like Whispers From A Spiritual Garden and Maybe There’s A World that offer some spiritual contemplation, which is somehow presents all across the record. Yusuf maintains a warm, intimate vibe even when the arrangements are busier and the lyrics grow more bitter, as on a dark-hued Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, that tells the fact that the singer has for years been defending himself against charges that he supports terrorist activities. I Think I See The Light is another Cat Stevens classic track composed back in 1970.

An Other Cup pursues a noble aim

There are a lot of more holistic themes on this album. The songs here are deeply spiritual massages that offer advice, but they also enthusiastically relate the benefits of what Yusuf has found. In some measures the album sounds preachy. As Yusuf himself comments: “Music has changed but today I am in a unique position as a looking glass through which Muslims can see the west and the west can see Islam. It is important for me to be able to help bridge the cultural gaps others are sometimes frightened to cross.” Certainly, Yusuf is well-equipped to be able to give this intention a go. His work has already been recognized with awards. In 2004, for instance, he was awarded the Man for Peace award by a committee of Nobel Peace laureates. And in 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief. Due to the noble aim that An Other Cup carries the record indeed possesses a dual character, where the western melodic and pop rock traditions are pierced with eastern philosophy. Anyone who likes and understands what Stevens did in a previous life can appreciate Yusuf’s songs and get the subjective truths related here.