Background (The Hype)
One of the most notorious rivalries among 80's-era musicians is between Morrissey and Robert Smith (The Cure's front man). The origin of this feud is unknown to the public, but one might speculate that it has something to do with egos and the rightful place as the one and only "Pope of Mope." Morrissey has been known to snipe at many in the music business and for that matter, is not reputedly tactful when doing so. It would not surprise me if a few poison words found their way to Robert Smith's ears somewhere along the line. Robert's responses, at least as I've heard them quoted, were, well, lame. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the Cure, but I'm sure you can guess who wins this one.
What's Been Said
"The Cure, a new dimension to the word 'crap'."
"If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey."
"Robert Smith is a whingebag."
"The press try to categorize me as a 'doom-and-gloom' singer. But take a look at Morrissey! That man's a professional moaner!"
"Well, I am an extremely beautiful person."
"Morrissey’s so depressing... if he doesn’t kill himself soon, I probably will."
"I lie a lot... it's really useful."
"I lie a lot... especially on interviews."
In This Corner: Morrissey
What do you say about Morrissey? He's easily one of the most enigmatic figures of the last century in music. With arms flailing and microphone cord whipping, Morrissey gets more engaged with the crowd than any artist I've ever heard of. With a look that's part Mancunian school boy and part rockabilly rebel (complete with either quiff or pompadour, respectively), Morrissey delivers a constant contrasting serenade of sass and self-loathing that always leaves you guessing... is he full of self-confidence or devoid of it? His lyrics are always clever and cut you right to the core, expressing loneliness as no one else can. Moz has released some diverse albums in his solo years, but aside from the occasional melodramatic disaster, his songs are consistently brilliant. For most of his solo work, he's employed a band of rockabilly stars, notably Boz Boorer, Alain Whyte, and Gary Day. This has led to some great backing music that contains elements of both swagger and sadness that compliment Morrissey's vocals beautifully. Oh, and Morrissey is a huge supporter of PETA as well!
And In This Corner: The Cure
Wearing lipstick and an ever-changing mop of hair that often has that finger-in-a-light-socket look, Robert Smith is a bizarre looking figure indeed. He has a kind of understated, gothic, sad clown thing going for him. My experience seeing The Cure live gives me the impression that they are not high-energy performers. Musically, they're known for writing great hooks. Though their melodies are often simple, they're usually very catchy too. The swirling guitar on most of their popular tracks, coupled with a lot of synthesizer, combine to provide a strangely upbeat and almost plastic sound. Smith's lyrics, however, are rarely as upbeat. Sometimes he goes a bit overboard and gets melodramatic, but for the most part, he captures the today-I'm-staying-in-bed-because-I'll-never-have-the-past-back-again feeling flawlessly. On a side note, I read that Robert wore dresses to high school. I don't know if he ever did this as a performer, but I will say this... if he needed inspiration for his dejected and forlorn lyrics, I'm sure his former classmates gave him plenty.
The Tale Of The Tape
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Who'd Win In An Actual Fight?
Now there's a good question. While neither seems very menacing, I think the winner here would be Robert Smith. In all likelihood, Moz would feel he was above it all and refuse to fight. And if it did come to blows, Robert definitely has some girth on Morrissey. Not to mention he has that whole morbid goth angle that the Mozzer doesn't. And I bet Robert has a sadistic streak in him, too. I should note though that this assumes it's a one-on-one fight. If we're talking band-on-band, the Morrissey camp would TROUNCE the Cure. Have you seen Morrissey's band? A bunch of tattooed rockabilly thugs they are. By the time it was done, Robert Smith would be in a fucking prom dress... oops, too late.
For The History Books
Morrissey and the Cure are without question the queens... er... kings of mope rock. While Moz ultimately comes out on top, I find most people have tremendous respect for both of them. I myself am generally happy listening to either, though the ratio of Morrissey:Cure in my own CD collection is something like 5:1. Maybe someday they'll kiss and make up. Although, can you imagine a Morrissey/Cure duet? A mope-fest like that would surely be enough to push anyone to suicide.