The Cure

Why Can't I Be You?

Composed by Boris Williams / Laurence Tolhurst / Porl Thompson / Robert Smith / Simon Gallup

Song Review by

"Why Can't I Be You?" built on the college radio success of the previous album's "In Between Days" and "Close to Me," just barely missing the Top 40 and laying the groundwork for the mainstream pop success of "Just Like Heaven" and "Love Song." Reverting to the antic, herky-jerky new wave pop of earlier singles like "Let's Go to Bed" and "The Lovecats," "Why Can't I Be You?" has the remarkable ability to be simultaneously incredibly catchy and frankly rather annoying, the latter quality primarily due to the willful shrieking of Robert Smith's lead vocal, which in a couple of places ("Everything you do is simply dreamy...") goes for trills not heard since the heyday of Tiny Tim, or at least early Morrissey. That hectoring lead vocal aside, "Why Can't I Be You?" has all of the pop suss of the Cure's singles from the preceding couple of years, distilled into three minutes of cumulative hooks that build from the jittery guitar riff that opens the song, to the answering synthesized horns, all the way to the dramatic build to a dead stop at the song's breathless end.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me 1987 Elektra / Rhino 3:14
No Image 1991 Elektra
Galore: The Singles 1987-1997 1997 Elektra 3:15
Greatest Hits 2001 Universal 3:15
Modern Edge 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:14
Back to the 80's: The Long Versions, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 8:07
Bestival Live 2011 2011 Lost Music / PIAS / Play It Again Sam / Sunday Best 3:27
The Best of Musical Idea
Various Artists
Universal 3:17
Why Can't I Be You?
blue highlight denotes editor's pick