Release Date: November 14, 2006
Yusuf Islam is legendary folk-popper Cat Steven's Islamic name, and the fact that he chose to release his first modern pop release in nearly thirty years under this title reveals what's in store throughout the record. An Other Cup is a spiritual affair, a collection of soft, string-laden hymns for today's weary soul.
Most of the time, the theme works brilliantly. Songs like Maybe There's A World and Heaven/Where True Love Goes work for the same reason John Lennon's Imagine was such a smash. They offer simple, universal melodies and messages, and work extraordinarily well as soft anthems. Even a gentle cover of the Yardbirds' classic Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood is reclassified as a spiritual ballad within the confines of the album. As with any religious and/or spiritual effort, the only time the record sags is when the message gets a little too preachy. In The End and The Beloved are prime examples. Both sound more like the work of an artist trying to teach rather than write an enjoyable song.
Yusuf's voice, however, remains in fine form throughout the record. His performance resonates with warmth, comfort and soul, just as it did some thirty years ago. Even when he turns his attention to religious poetry and allusions, the listener feels welcomed into the album's journey. And, while An Other Cup doesn't boast any groundbreaking, chart-topping hits along the lines of The First Cut Is The Deepest, it does succeed in being a thoroughly joyful, breezy and accomplished listen. B
Key Tracks: Maybe There's A World, Heaven/Where True Love Goes, I Think I See The Light