Majik of Majiks


Cat Stevens’ Numbers is about just that. Not having read the tie-in children’s book, I can’t fully recount the concept, but it has to do with a group of anthropomorphic digits from one to nine who have an identity crisis when someone named ‘Jzero’ comes into their world. Which is really a rather off-the-wall concept for either a kid’s story or an album. Luckily, Stevens didn’t fall into the concept album trap of taking the concept entirely too seriously. You wouldn’t immediately guess that there was a concept, until you read the liner booklet. Cat Stevens, as usual, carries his ideas lightly. You could make out, with context, that this song is about paranoid numbers who’ve discovered the wizardry of double digits. You could, with the literal-minded visual aids in the video below, assume it was about a magic show or the trade of magicianship. Or you could – and I suspect this might be the intention – broadly interpret it as an expression of bewilderment and wonder in the face of forces greater than ourselves. Weird little concept to wider spiritual metaphor – all in a day’s work for Cat Stevens.

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