“Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart

Al Stewart might just be the classiest Soft Rocker of all time. He started out as a Progressive Folk-Rocker with College radio hits like “Roads To Moscow”, and he retained the ambition and intellectual qualities he displayed there even after moving into radio-friendly Soft Rock. This song features an impossibly lush arrangement, with an elegant keyboard lead-in and a saxophone part giving it a kind of jazz-folk quality. This, combined with the sophisticated and richly romantic imagery of the lyrics (‘she comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolor in the rain’), gives the piece a feeling of world-weary continental elegance. This song has a handful of people who still scorn it simply because it was a Soft Rock radio hit that was a bit overexposed when it came out, but I have always maintained that Soft Rock can be a perfectly legitimate genre, and it just doesn’t get better or more legitimate than this.

Verdict: This song is a true classic.

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