Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yusuf - Midday (Avoid City After Dark)

Of the entirety of Cat Steven's oeuvre, why choose something from his post-conversion to Islam post-deciding-music-is-still-okay era? I understand this idea. But I have two reasons, and one of them isn't very good:
  1. We all know the great Cat Stevens tunes. Seriously, they're fantastic, they seriously are, but they're also ubiquitous. The one Cat Stevens tune to appear here already has been a lesser-known one, but in general he's like The Beatles. Undeniably great, but also the music we generally came up with.
  2. This song is actually really good.
On its surface, this is almost an old man song, like a re-imagining of "What a Wonderful World." The catchy horns and the upbeat percussion make it feel like this song was created to be covered by buskers and sold at Starbucks, and the lyrics nearly support that idea. They talk about how great boring things are during the daytime and children and shit.
But the end of every verse reminds us: I avoid the city after dark. Like The Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning, once we get comfortable with the theme of the song, a terrible paranoia creeps in, shaking us a little, and nudging us if we allow ourselves to enjoy a fleeting moment of sunlight. I've written enough already. Just listen to the song.

1 comment:

(Dan) said...

It's kind of odd that thirty years of religious isolationism has not changed his musical style at all. I do like that one lyric you pointed out which changes the song.