Jim Farber
April 05, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Morrissey isn’t the only pop singer to play charismatic introvert. In fact, much of the music amorphously known as ”alternative rock” hinges on figures just as compellingly remote, including, most prominently:

MICHAEL STIPE The lead singer of R.E.M. manages to hold fans spellbound through a combination of hypnotically vague lyrics, chantlike vocals, and a flat, otherworldly speaking voice. Also upping our sense of his isolation is a stunning lack of humor.

ROBERT SMITH With his clownish lipstick, Medusa-like hairstyle, and corpse- white complexion, the Cure’s lead singer looks like the model for the title character of Edward Scissorhands. To boot, Smith’s voice is ethereal and dislocated and his lyrics poignantly detached. He represents teen morbidity at its most pure.

DAVID GAHAN Depeche Mode’s lead singer is the closest the mope-rock genre comes to offering a teen dream. He’s cute and slim, and his hair is very neat. Luckily, that doesn’t stop him or the group from spending half their lyrics bitching.

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