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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Yusuf Islam
An Other Cup

Rating: 6/10 ?

January 17, 2007
Most times I prefer pizza or a hamburger, but once every full moon I crave something different; like fish or raisins. Along with the latter is the category Yusuf Islam's newest album, An Other Cup, falls into.

The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, pulls together a motivational, ABC, 1-2-3, almost Curious George-ish rhythm to his first album in 28 years, beginning with a few soulful Jack Johnson/James Tayloresque tunes like "Midday(Avoid City After Dark)" and "Heaven/Where True Love Goes", which are both brilliant, yet weird and infectious. Maybe it's when he says "Heaven must've programmed you" that I begin to wonder, but that's just me.

The new Stevens, however, feels obliged to preach more than sing, as his lyrics steadily become more corny than inspirational throughout the album. As in "In the End" when Islam sings "You can't bargain with the truth/ 'Cause one day you're gonna die/ And good's going high/ And evil's going down/ in the end" as if that's anything to question unless your an atheist or nihilist, but then why would they be listening to Yusuf.

The stigma shadowing Stevens/Islam may hinder a positive response of An Other Cup due to rumors of Islam having ties with terrorists, or having so-called followed the Muslum protocol to execute an author for writing a blasphemous book criticizing the Muslim community in the late eighties, and many may interprete Islam's peaceful lyrics as hypocritical. Rationality, research and open-mindedness can guide anyone to the truth in such matters after visiting a few scholarly Web sites, but for Islam's music, after such a long hiatus from the pop world, An Other Cup all in all, is worthy of praise.

Skipping over a few songs, such as "When Butterflies Leave" and "Whispers From A Spiritual Garden" - because who wants to hear spiritual babbling when Islam can sing so diatonically correct - the album flourishes into a masterpiece of sincerity to its core.

So next time when your trying to decide between steak vs chicken or ben Harper vs Jeff Buckley, try something new like Yusuf Islam with apricots.

Reviewed by Josh Mabray
A freelance writer and journalist from McAlester, Oklahoma, Josh Mabray is a contributing writer covering music and film for LAS.

See other reviews by Josh Mabray



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