No kidding! After 28 years Cat “the Fatwah against Salman Rushdie is justified” Stevens himself just released an album. Heard about it on NPR tonight. Apparently, his prior views that his music was offensive to God have been set aside following the revelation that the guitar was introduced to Europe through Spain from Islam. He’d previously disowned his songs, but now he’s got some new ones which promote Islam as, you guessed it, a message of peace.
“When my son brought the guitar back into the house, you know, that was the turning point. It opened a flood of, of new ideas and music which I think a lot of people would connect with.”
The clips of music I heard sound good actually. I couldn’t make out the lyrics as Jefferson Radio was coming in and out as I wound down 199 tonight. But like Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, his main album during his brief stint as a Christian, it sounds like Stevens, aka Yusef Islam, hasn’t lost his touch in three decades without practice. With Dylan, his lyrics maintained his patented elegance if you ignored the song about man giving names to all the animals which was obviously a filler. Maybe Yusef can write a filler about giving his wife “slaps of admonishment,” as he once explained that it was not only his right, but his duty, to do to his wife when she strayed from whatever it is orthodox Muslim women are supposed to be doing.
Do I sound bitter? I’m sorry. Maybe there’s some hope in this recent comment.
“Of course, being in some way a kind of icon of a generation, where music played a fundamental part in growing up and development – turning away from that the way I did was a little bit harsh. As you age, and as you gain wisdom in life, you realize where you made mistakes,” he said.
Now, I hope that means he’s going to fess up to mistakes other than his conclusion that the guitar is the devil’s tool.