1977 was a big year for Cat Stevens. Not only did he make the decision to convert to Islam after a near death experience, but he released an album that would be the last for nearly three decades.
Izitso, Stevens’ tenth studio album revived his career after his not-so-stellar album Numbers in 1975 flopped. It proved that when he went back to his roots, which were nostalgic and sentimental songs, Stevens could be great. While the album has some downfalls–like “Was Dog a Doughnut”, an electronic song that came off as too robotlike–it also had some really great tracks. The album’s opener, “(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard” grabbed my attention with its catchy lyrics and fun instrumentals. Elkie Brooks accompanies Stevens’ on the song, and it reached the Top 40 hits–the last time one of his songs would do this for decades. “Life” is exactly what you would expect from Stevens, with lyrics like “Life you make it what it is/Love can change it with a kiss/Love can take you by the hand/Love can drop you where you stand”; they’re sappy and emotional, but still beautiful and realistic. The completely instrumental song “Kypros” on the album showcases just what a talented musician Stevens is, and lends something unique to Izitso.
During my time here at Off the Record, anyone who has read my work will know that my dad inspires a lot of my posts about music and it’s no different with Cat Stevens’ Izitso. I can remember listening to Stevens’ music with my dad on long car rides, or belting out the lyrics in our kitchen during late nights. He’s an artist that I can recognize just by the sound of his voice. And although this album is his last for a long time and not his best, it’s still important to me; nostalgic and sentimental.