The Smiths have always been regarded as an important band, but this year people are in love with Morrissey and The Smiths all over again. They’ve been mentioned in every list you can think of: why they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the best Smith songs, most important bands of the 80s, why Morrissey is adorable, etc. NME even named The Queen is Dead as the greatest album of all time. I’m not a fan of The Smiths but I notice that The Cure, another important alt band from the 80’s, are rarely mentioned in any lists. In fact, after so many years they still don’t seem to be getting the recognition they deserve. I’m not trying to argue why The Smiths suck, I just don’t understand why a band who came out the same time as The Smiths doesn’t get the same adoration or praise when ultimately they should.
The Cure have held a dedicated following since the mid-80s and they keep getting discovered by the next generation. They have influenced so many bands in different genres you wouldn’t even believe it. Bands like Blink-182, Deftones, AFI, Marilyn Manson, even the influential Depeche Mode have all been influenced by the band. It just shows that you can never guess who is a Cure fan. Also, so many of their songs are timeless. Even if you’re not familiar with the band, you at least know one of their songs, such as “Just Like Heaven” or “Friday I’m In Love.” You can’t necessarily say that about Smith songs. To me this fact along with their 30 plus career shows why they deserve more recognition than they currently get, especially in the States.
Another thing that I don’t get about the Morrissey love is how people can find him so adorable when he’s such a dick. It seems like every three months or after every tragedy, Morrissey has something crude to say. Does anyone remember what he said in regards to the Norway massacre in 2011 where 77 people died? He told a Warsaw crowd “That is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.” He even referred to Chinese people as a subspecies when talking about the animal cruelty occurring there. When you read more about him you learn that he’s been accused of racism since the 80’s. Maybe he’s not racist, I can’t really tell, but I feel that his political views get him in a lot of trouble. It’s fine that he’s an animal activist, but sometimes you have to learn when to keep your mouth shut. Or you can at least make sure your political views don’t affect your music.
Robert Smith on the other hand, doesn’t really say anything to the media. In fact, he keeps himself out of trouble and really doesn’t open his mouth unless it’s about music. Whatever political views he may have he keeps to himself and doesn’t let it affect his music. Also, Smith and The Cure seem more humble about their success. Smith still gets bashful when anyone names his records as the greatest of all time. He never feels entitled to his success; he just goes with the flow. The Cure also like to have fun with their music. Sure, they have some of the darkest songs out there, but they also have songs that are just silly, like the lovable “Lovecats.” In other words, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Morrissey and The Smiths have this pretentious air about them, as if they know their band is better than everyone else. He constantly puts his music on a pedestal as if it can do no wrong. Where you can actually relate to Cure songs, Morrissey just makes you feel dumb if you don’t get all his “witty” references. I think Mike DiBenedetto of Nerve.com summed up both bands the best: “The Cure is about you; The Smiths are about Morrissey and his colossal ego.”
In terms of music, Smith is an amazing writer and a great guitar player. He has the ability to write the darkest images that make you want to curl up in the corner to the most nonsensical things that make you wonder if your drink is spiked. Listening to a Cure song is an experience. You can feel the music, you can visualize everything Smith is singing about, and you get lost in his odd, wavering vocals. He has a way with words that makes every gruesome, depressing image come to life even if you don’t want it to. You don’t realize how bleak a person can be until you put on something like “Cold” or “Faith.” Cure songs are packed with emotion and even if you don’t know what caused Smith to write something so dark, you still adapt to what he’s feeling in the track.
I can understand how The Smiths are important. I just think The Cure deserves the same recognition. They’ve had a long, fruitful career that’s been through many ups and downs (and many members). They continue to influence bands young and old today. Maybe part of the issue is they are still pegged as moody, depressing, Gothic band. Yes, they do have a few albums that can be categorized as that, but they’ve crossed over in other genres countless times. And they’re never afraid to experiment, even if it leads to mediocre results. Smith and the rest of the band take it all in stride and remain as honest as they can. The Cure is one of the most important alt rock bands around and it’s about time people, other than the fans, start to realize that.