He is widely regarded as an important innovator in the indie music scene; music magazine NME considers Morrissey to be "one of the most influential artists ever", while The Independent says, "Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status he has reached in his lifetime." In 2004, Pitchfork Media called him "one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last 20 years."
Morrissey's lyrics have been described as "dramatic, bleak, funny vignettes about doomed relationships, lonely nightclubs, the burden of the past and the prison of the home". He is also noted for his unusual baritone vocal style, his quiff haircut and his dynamic live performances. Media controversies have been caused by his forthright and often contrarian opinions, and he has also attracted media attention for his advocacy of vegetarianism and animal rights. He describes himself in his autobiography as an animal protectionist.
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