Things aren’t going well for Cat Stevens on the planet, ah, polyethylene. Critics keep asking: would you buy a used I Ching from this man? Since Tea for the Tillerman, affirmation has been doubtful. Never a deep thinker and rarely a master of words, Stevens has now turned to the “majik” of numerology, only to have the melodies disappear down the decimal point. In fact, “Call Me Zero” would have been a perfect title for Numbers, an album so breathtakingly stupid that even the most loyal fan could count its merits without using any of the fingers on either hand.
Subtitled "A Pythagorean Theory Tale," Numbers was a concept album relating to a faraway galaxy, a planet called Polygor, a palace, and its people, the Polygons. So one learned from the album's accompanying booklet…
Yusuf /Cat Stevens, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time, will release his highly anticipated new album, ‘The Laughing Apple’, on September 15 under his Cat-O-Log Records logo exclusively through Decca Records, the same label that launched his career 50 years ago. The Laughing Apple features original songs and covers, though the covers on this album are Yusufs own. He celebrates some of his earliest material, with new presentations of the songs. Conceptually, The Laughing Apple returns to the journey of the Tillerman, as he recalls his travels and life lessons to a younger generation. The album's cover features Yusufs own illustration, the first time he has designed one of his covers since 1972. Yusuf has drawn additional works of art for each of the 11 songs on The Laughing Apple.
Between 1970 and 1972, Cat Stevens recorded four albums in the same manner, using the same producer and many of the same musicians, painting the album covers, and assigning the records ponderous titles. Things changed with his next album, Foreigner.