Review of Cat Stevens’ New Album – the Laughing Apple

This cover image released by Cat-O-Log Records shows "The Laughing Apple," a release by Cat Stevens. (Cat-O-Log Records via AP)

By Harry Katopodis

The Laughing Apple is Cat Stevens’ fourth album since returning to music in 2006 after a 28-year hiatus. It is a gem that sparkles.

Stevens is a Cypriot-Swedish-descended musician, born in London as Steven Georgiou, performing as Cat Stevens, and later converting to Islam and changing his name to Yusuf Islam. The Laughing Apple is the first album since his return that I can listen to over and over again with satisfaction. He has recaptured the joyous simplicity of the Tea for the Tillerman era.

Paul Samwel-Smith produced this album and Alun Davies was the lead guitar just like, when they worked together on Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat, and Catch Bull at Four. Just like in the past, his lyrics tell a story and paint a picture. Not only does he give us some new songs, he also sings some older songs in a new way he hopes listeners will enjoy. He has drawn an illustration for each of the songs and the album cover. It was the first time he has illustrated one of his albums since the early 70s, after all he initially wanted to be a cartoonist.

It is fitting that this album was made at Decca Records, where his career started with his song “I Love My Dog” and 2017 also marks the 50th Anniversary of his first record.

In 2014 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He now calls himself Yusuf/Cat Stevens.

“I fully appreciate now how my songs and words have brought hope to many to see life in a positive light.” More than that, he has recaptured his old sound and that will bring joy and solace to his many fans.

The Laughing Apple Track List:

  1. “Blackness of the Night”
    2. “See What Love Did to Me”
    3. “The Laughing Apple”
    4. “Olive Hill”
    5. “Grandsons”
    6. “Mighty Peace”
    7. “Mary and the Little Lamb”
    8. “You Can Do (Whatever)”
    9. “Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid)”
    10. “Don’t Blame Them”
    11. “I’m So Sleepy”

Harry Katopodis is a freelance journalist and high school journalism teacher.